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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).

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