James Jefferys

1 portrait

James Jefferys, by James Jefferys, circa 1774-1775 - NPG 4669 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

James Jefferys

by James Jefferys
ink and pencil, circa 1774-1775
19 1/2 in. x 16 3/4 in. (495 mm x 425 mm)
Purchased with help from The Art Fund, 1969
Primary Collection
NPG 4669


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  • James Jefferys (1751-1784), History painter. Sitter in 1 portrait, Artist of 1 portrait.

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  • James Jefferys (1751-1784), History painter. Artist of 1 portrait, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Jefferys's self-portrait depicts him gazing into the distance, his forehead furrowed in concentration. He holds a 'porte crayon', used for holding chalk, and his hand rests on his unfinished drawing which depicts a biblical scene, The Massacre of the Innocents. The books, labelled Spencer, Homer, Milton and Nature, present his talent as rooted in the study of history, the classics, poetry and observation. This image not only promotes Jefferys as an artist but also celebrates drawing by using it to symbolise artistic inspiration.

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