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The Academicians of the Royal Academy

3 of 38 portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

The Academicians of the Royal Academy

by John Sanders, after Johan Joseph Zoffany
1773, based on a work of 1772
7 3/8 in. x 10 5/8 in. (188 mm x 270 mm)
NPG 1437


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Inscriptionback to top

Signed bottom right: J Sanders delin: a Zoffanii 1773; inscribed verso, apparently in the artist’s hand: This Picture was painted by John Zoffany in the year 1770 The names of the artists are on the back of this drawing The Room was that of the R.A. in Pall Mall/I was admitted a student of this Society Augt 1769 and in the year 1770 gained the Silver Medal for the full Academy figure. J. Sanders.1

1 This biographical account is confirmed by the RA Schools register (Wal. Soc., XXXVIII, 1962, no.47); the date of 1770 for the Zoffany painting presumably refers to the time he began to gather individual portraits for the 1772 composition (I am most grateful to Nicholas Savage for his help on this point).

This portraitback to top

A crude copy of Zoffany’s Academicians of the Royal Academy in the Royal Collection, NPG 1437 is of some interest through the inscription stating that the setting was the RA rooms in Pall Mall. In January 1771 the Academy had moved to Old Somerset House, where it has been assumed Zoffany’s painting was set; but the setting has such little character that it is of no real consequence. As a student at the RA, Sanders would doubtless have been aware of Zoffany painting the individual portraits probably as early as 1770, and he would certainly have seen the finished painting at the RA in 1772; he would subsequently know the mezzotint by Richard Earlom published on 2 August 1773. NPG 1437 shows differences, for example, in the colours worn by Reynolds, Zuccarelli and William Hunter. A pencil tracing (NPG 1437a) has each figure numbered in red ink and a crude, later ink copy (also NPG 1437a) shows the figures alone with a written key.
The drawing is too slight for the individual figures to be regarded as portraits, but the sitters (and their RA appointments) are listed below in alphabetical order, followed by their numbers in the key.
‡ denotes a sitter separately featured in this catalogue:
George Barret (1732-84), key 11; painter; RA 1768
Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), ‡ key 12; engraver; RA 1768
Edward Burch (1730-1814), key 13; medallist; RA 1771; Librarian 1794
Agostino Carlini (c.1718-90), ‡ key 14; sculptor; RA 1768; Keeper 1783
Charles Catton (1728-98), key 15; painter; RA 1768
Mason Chamberlin (1722-87), ‡ key 16; painter; RA 1768
Sir William Chambers (1726-96), ‡ key 2; architect; RA 1768 Treasurer 1768
G. B. Cipriani (1727-85), ‡ key 17; painter; RA 1768
Richard Cosway (1742-1821), ‡ key 18; painter; RA 1771
John Gwynn (1713-1786), ‡ key 19; architect; RA 1768
Francis Hayman (1708-76), key 9; painter; RA 1768; Librarian 1770 (see J. Kerslake National Portrait Gallery, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, I, pp 136-38, II, pls.367-72)
William Hoare (1707-92), key 20; painter; RA 1768
Nathaniel Hone (1718-84), ‡ key 21; painter; RA 1768
Dr William Hunter (1718-82), ‡ key 8; RA 1768; Professor of Anatomy 1768
Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807), ‡ key 22; painter; RA 1768
Jeremiah Meyer (1735-89), ‡ key 23; miniaturist; RA 1768
George Michael Moser (1704-83), ‡ key 3; enamellist; RA 1768 Keeper 1768
Mrs Mary Moser (1744-1819), key 24; painter; RA 1768 (daughter of G. M. Moser)
Francis Milner Newton (1720-94), key 4; painter; RA 1768; Secretary 1768
Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823), key 25; sculptor; RA 1772 (see R. J. B. Walker National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits, 1985, I, pp 368-70, II, pls.887-90)
Edward Penny (1714-91), key 15; painter; RA 1768; Professor of Painting 1768
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92), ‡ key 1; painter; RA 1768; President 1768
John Inigo Richards (1731-1810), key 26; painter; RA 1768; Secretary 1788
Paul Sandby (1725-1809), ‡ key 27; painter; RA 1768
Thomas Sandby (1721-98), ‡ key 6; painter; RA 1768; Professor of Architecture 1768
Dominic Serres (1722-93), ‡ key 28; painter; RA 1768; Librarian 1792
Tan Chet Qua, a Chinese artist who came to England in 1769, key 10
Peter Toms (fl. c.1748-d. 1777), key 29; painter; RA 1768
William Tyler (fl. c.1760-d.1801), key 30; sculptor; RA 1768
Samuel Wale (1721-86), key 7; painter; RA 1768; Professor of Perspective 1768 and Librarian 1782
Sir Benjamin West (1738-1820), key 31; painter; President 1792; RA 1768 (see R. J. B. Walker National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits, 1985, I, pp 543-47, II, pls.1349-59)
Richard Wilson (1714-82), ‡ key 32; painter; Librarian 1776; RA 1768
Joseph Wilton (1722-1803), ‡ key 33; sculptor; RA 1768; Librarian 1786 and Keeper 1790
Richard Yeo (c.1720-79), key 34; medallist; RA 1768
Johann Zoffany (1733-1810), ‡ key 35; painter; RA 1769
Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-88), key 36; painter; RA 1768
There were three absentees: Thomas Gainsborough, and Nathaniel and George Dance.

Provenanceback to top

Presented by Alfred Jones of Bath 1906.

Exhibitionsback to top

Kauffmann 1968 (415); Artists at Work 1981 - 82 (27a); Hommage an Angelika Kauffmann, Liechtenstein, 1992 (hors catalogue).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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