1 of 4 portraits on display in Room 17: pastel case at the National Portrait Gallery
by John Russell
23 1/4 in. x 17 1/2 in. (603 mm x 445 mm)
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Artistback to top
- John Russell (1745-1806), Portrait painter and pastellist. Artist associated with 102 portraits, Sitter associated with 6 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Russell's energetic pastel captures Willis in his hour of triumph. On 26 February 1789 the doctors' report described 'an entire cessation of his Majesty's illness'. The Royal Academy exhibition, which opened on 27 April, included three portraits of Willis who had, meanwhile, commissioned a medal to celebrate his achievements.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 488
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 666
Events of 1789back to top
Current affairsGeorge III recovers from the previous year's illness. The 'Regency Crisis' and attendant political wrangling between the Tory Prime Minister William Pitt and the pro-Whig Prince of Wales end. Dismissed as a 'bilious attack', George's sickness was in fact the first sign of the mental health problems which led to the Prince of Wales's appointment as Regent in 1811.
Art and scienceJohn Boydell's ambitious new Shakespeare Gallery opens in Pall Mall, displaying works by Britain's leading artists and attempting to combine urban entertainment with the promotion of British history painting.
Philosopher Jeremy Bentham publishes An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, outlining his 'greatest happiness principle'.
InternationalGeorge Washington is elected first President of the United States.
The French Revolution begins. The storming of the Bastille on the 14 July marks the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in France. The uprising followed the establishment of a governing National Assembly of the people's representatives.