John Kay

1 portrait

John Kay, by John Kay, 1786 - NPG D8953 - © 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; 11 in. x 8 1/8 in. (279 mm x 206 mm) paper size
acquired Martin Collection, 1861
Reference Collection
NPG D8953

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Sitterback to top

  • John Kay (1742-1826), Miniature painter and caricaturist. Sitter in 4 portraits, Artist associated with 286 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • John Kay (1742-1826), Miniature painter and caricaturist. Artist associated with 286 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