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John Wesley

2 of 30 portraits of John Wesley

John Wesley, by William Hamilton, 1788 - NPG 317 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Wesley

by William Hamilton
oil on canvas, 1788
50 3/8 in. x 40 1/8 in. (1280 mm x 1019 mm)
Given by James Milbourne, 1871
Primary Collection
NPG 317


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Sitterback to top

  • John Wesley (1703-1791), Methodist leader. Sitter in 30 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • William Hamilton (1751-1801), History painter. Artist associated with 12 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Wesley is portrayed wearing a black cassock and gown, standing at a pulpit. Although Wesley does not mention the artist, the portrait would appear to be the one begun on 22 December 1787 when Wesley wrote: 'I yielded to the importunity of a painter, and sat an hour and a half, in all, for my picture. I think it was the best that ever was taken; but what is the picture of a man above fourscore?' The portrait is signed and dated at bottom left: Wm. Hamilton/ 1788. It was painted for the carver and gilder, James Milbourne, a friend of the sitter, and given to the Gallery by his grandson in 1871. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1788back to top

Current affairs

Parliament begins an investigation into the slave trade, led by reformers Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce. Regency Crisis; George III's madness is announced provoking a political storm. Former Governor-General of Bengal Warren Hastings' trial begins before the House of Lords. Henry Benedict Stuart becomes the new Stuart claimant to the British throne.

Art and science

Artist Thomas Gainsborough dies. First edition of The Times newspaper is published in London. Scottish engineer and inventor William Symington demonstrates the first paddle steamer on Dalswinton Loch near Dumfries. Robert Burns writes his version of the Scots poem Auld Lang Syne.

International

Ministers of the French King, Louis XVI, reluctantly announce that the Estates General will meet the following year, for the first time since 1614. United States constitution comes into force when New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify it. First Fleet reaches Australia, anchoring in Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip, selecting a suitable site for the first Australian penal colony, names the place Sydney Cove.

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