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Richard Cosway

4 of 15 portraits of Richard Cosway

Richard Cosway, after Richard Cosway, (circa 1790) - NPG 1678 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Richard Cosway

after Richard Cosway
oil on mahogany panel, (circa 1790)
6 1/8 in. x 5 1/4 in. (156 mm x 133 mm) oval
Given by Heber Mardon, 1912
Primary Collection
NPG 1678


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  • Richard Cosway (1742-1821), Miniature painter. Sitter in 15 portraits, Artist associated with 96 portraits.

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  • Richard Cosway (1742-1821), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 96 portraits, Sitter in 15 portraits.

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Cosway's career as one of the great painters of the eighteenth century began with portraits of figures from the fashionable world in London, including the Duchess of Devonshire, Mrs Fitzherbert and the Prince of Wales. He was ridiculously vain and pompous but able, at his best, to produce miraculously beautiful miniatures. This self-portrait is a relatively modest image showing him dressed in the fashionable clothes of about 1790 and with the frizzled hair popularised earlier by the Prince of Wales. In other self-portraits Cosway appears in a variety of guises, including a cavalier at a masked ball, a dandified macaroni, a Spanish grandee, as Rubens (with his wife, Maria Cosway), and wearing an Elizabethan ruff and gold chain.

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