Jonathan Swift

1 portrait on display in Room 10 at the National Portrait Gallery

Jonathan Swift, by Charles Jervas, circa 1718 - NPG 278 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Jonathan Swift

by Charles Jervas
oil on canvas, circa 1718
48 1/2 in. x 38 1/4 in. (1232 mm x 972 mm)
Purchased, 1869
Primary Collection
NPG 278


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Sitterback to top

  • Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Satirist and divine. Sitter in 23 portraits.

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  • Charles Jervas (1675-1739), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 40 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

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This portrait of Jonathan Swift, Dean of St Patrick's in Dublin, was painted in about 1718. He is dressed in the robes and clerical collar appropriate to his position. Although he was an ordained priest Swift was far from being a conventional Christian and is known today as the author of Gulliver's Travels, a satire on contemporary politics and manners. Swift spent much of his life in fierce dispute with his literary and political opponents whom he saw as intellectual pygmies. He is depicted in this portrait at his writing table with paper and quill in hand. On the table rests copies of Aesop, Horace and Lucian.

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