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James Wolfe

5 of 26 portraits on display in Room 14 at the National Portrait Gallery

James Wolfe, by Joseph Wilton, circa 1760 - NPG 4415 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

James Wolfe

by Joseph Wilton
plaster cast of bust, circa 1760
29 3/4 in. (756 mm) high
Purchased, 1964
Primary Collection
NPG 4415


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Sitterback to top

  • James Wolfe (1727-1759), General; conqueror of Quebec. Sitter in 24 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).

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top