John Kay

1 portrait

John Kay, by John Kay, 1786 - NPG D4970 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Kay

by John Kay
etching and aquatint, 1786
4 3/8 in. x 3 7/8 in. (111 mm x 98 mm) plate size; 6 1/4 in. x 4 7/8 in. (159 mm x 124 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D4970


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Sitterback to top

  • John Kay (1742-1826), Miniature painter and caricaturist. Sitter in 4 portraits, Artist associated with 272 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • John Kay (1742-1826), Miniature painter and caricaturist. Artist associated with 272 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This self-portrait shows Kay near the start of his artistic career. He has depicted himself in a thoughtful posture in an antiquated chair, to represent his love of antiquities, with a bust of the Greek poet Homer and his painting utensils on the table. With him is his favourite cat - the largest, he believed, in Scotland.

His widow later complained that he would too readily 'quit his lucrative employment in miniature drawing, in order to commit some freak of his fancy to copper, for which, perhaps, no profit was to be hoped for'.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D8954: John Kay (impression from same plate as)
  • NPG D8953: John Kay (impression from same plate as)

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top