by Joseph Wilton
plaster cast of bust, circa 1760
29 3/4 in. (756 mm) high
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Sitterback to top
- James Wolfe (1727-1759), General; conqueror of Quebec. Sitter associated with 26 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Joseph Wilton (1722-1803), Sculptor. Artist associated with 7 portraits, Sitter in 9 portraits.
This portraitback to top
In designing this posthumous bust, the sculptor Joseph Wilton allegedly had Wolfe's coffin opened so he could sketch Wolfe's face, but found it 'much too much distorted'. Instead, he created an idealised portrait of a hero, stated to be based on a servant of Lord Gower's who was very like Wolfe, wearing the armour of an ancient Roman soldier. The wolf motifs on the shoulders are a pun on the General's name. 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).
Linked publicationsback to top
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 317
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 673
Events of 1760back to top
Current affairsDeath of George II on 25 October at the age of 76. George III succeeds to the throne at the age of 22.
Art and scienceGerman artist Johan Zoffany arrives in England, where he is instrumental in reviving the 'conversation piece' genre of painting. First public exhibition of paintings in England is held at the Society of Arts' Great Room in the Strand, London. The Public Ledger is founded; the oldest British periodical with continuous daily publication.
InternationalSeven Years' War: At the Battle of Carrickfergus in Ireland, a force of French troops captures the town of Carrickfergus before retiring. Surrender of Montreal to the British under General Jeffrey Amherst signals the virtual loss of Canada by the French. British troops oust the Nawab of Bengal Mir Jafar and replace him with Mir Quasim.Former Chief Tacky leads an unsuccessful slave rebellion in Jamaica, which aims to overthrow British rule.
See this portrait
On display in Room 14 at the National Portrait Gallery