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George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield

3 of 21 portraits by John Singleton Copley

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield

by John Singleton Copley
1787
26 1/2 in. x 23 in. (673 mm x 584 mm)
NPG 170


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This portraitback to top

Described by Prown as a ‘vigorous and virile oil sketch’, NPG 170 is a portrait study for Copley’s Defeat of the Floating Batteries, commissioned by the Corporation of London in 1783 and completed in 1791. For an account of the action, see NPG 1752. The final composition was determined early in 1787, when Copley was asked ‘to wait on the illustrious characters whose portraits he wishes to have’. [1] In the finished picture Eliott appears mounted on a grey, marshalling the British troops, his right arm outstretched. A second sketch, showing the complete mounted figure, was sold Christie’s, 15 November 1996, lot 26.

Footnotesback to top

1) J. D. Prown, John Singleton Copley, 1966, II, p 326. In August 1787 Copley was still seeking portraits of de la Motte, Dachenhausen, Hugo and Schleppegrell (ibid., p 327).

Referenceback to top

Neff 1995
E. B. Neff, John Singleton Copley in England, exhibition catalogue, Washington, Houston, 1995, pp 40-42.

Prown 1966
J. D. Brown, John Singleton Copley, II, p 327, 402, 419.

Physical descriptionback to top

Clear grey eyes, grey hair with a black ribbon, in the uniform of an officer of the 15th Light Dragoons; black cockade and hat with gold trim, red coat with black collar, dark blue lapels.

Provenanceback to top

The artist’s son, Lord Lyndhurst; his sale, Christie’s, 5 March 1864, lot 57, purchased.

Exhibitionsback to top

Second special exhibition of National Portraits (William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington, 1867 (486); Romantic Art in Britain, Detroit, Philadelphia, 1968 (45).


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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