Giuseppe Baretti

1 portrait

Giuseppe Baretti, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, (1773) - NPG 6248 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Giuseppe Baretti

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, (1773)
29 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. (750 mm x 630 mm)
Bequeathed by Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, 5th Baron Kenyon, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG 6248

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Sitterback to top

  • Giuseppe Baretti (1719-1789), Writer and friend of Dr Johnson. Sitter associated with 5 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Originally from Turin, Baretti came to London in 1751 and became a member of the circle of Joshua Reynolds and Dr Johnson. In 1760 his highly successful Dictionary of the English and Italian Language was published and he returned to Italy. Returning to Britain six years later, in 1769 Baretti stabbed a pimp to death in a street brawl and his acquittal of the charge of murder was largely due to the testimonials given to the court by Burke, Garrick, Johnson and Reynolds. It was Johnson who introduced Baretti to the wealthy Thrale family with whom he resided between 1773-6 as tutor in Italian and Spanish. Henry Thrale commissioned this portrait for the series in his library at Streatham Park. Baretti, whose eyesight was poor, is shown reading a book close to his face, a device which intensifies the suggestion of concentration.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1773back to top

Current affairs

Tea Act grants the struggling East India Company a monopoly on the North American tea trade.
Brokers who meet to do business in Jonathan's coffee house in Threadneedle Street, London decide to call themselves the Stock Exchange.
General Turnpike Act regulates the system of road tolls.

Art and science

Samuel Johnson and James Boswell undertake a journey together to the western islands of Scotland.
Oliver Goldsmith's play She Stoops to Conquer debuts in London's Covent Garden Theatre.


Captain James Cook becomes the first European explorer to cross the Antarctic Circle.
Boston Tea Party demonstrates opposition in the colonies to the import duty on tea. Some fifty colonists, disguised as Indians, tip a valuable cargo of tea into Boston harbour as a protest against the British tax.
Responding to pressure from the Catholic monarchs of Europe, Clement XIV abolishes the Jesuit Order.

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