Selected archive documents relating to 18th Century and Regency portraits

The first bars of 'Florimel', a song by Greene said to date from 1735, the score for which appears in the portrait.

Alexander Pope
by William Hoare
circa 1739-1743
NPG 873

Note removed from the reverse of the portrait which identifies it as the only known full-length portrait of Pope.

Sir Joshua Reynolds
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
circa 1747-1749
NPG 41

Notes on Facility written by Sir Joshua Reynolds in preparation for his lectures, or 'Discourses', on art given at the Royal Academy.

Letter from the Earl of Bath to Mrs Montagu, dated 15 October 1761, discussing contemporary events and describing his sitting to Reynolds.

Thomas Day
by Joseph Wright
NPG 2490

Letter from Richard Lovell Edgeworth to the wife of Thomas Day, who had recently died after being thrown from his horse, dated 21 October 1789, offering her the portrait of Day by Wright in his collection.

Angelica Kauffmann
by Angelica Kauffmann
circa 1770-1775
NPG 430

Letter from Angelica Kauffman to Mr Daulby, dated 28 November 1778, in which she lists the prices she charges for her paintings.

Sir William Herschel
by Lemuel Francis Abbott
NPG 98

Letter from Robert Walker, a dealer from Bath, to Sir George Scharf, dated 10 February 1860, giving reasons why the portrait of Sir William Herschel is both important and valuable. Account of how the portrait, then identified only as a 'Portrait of a Gentleman' was discovered by the dealer Robert Walker.

Benjamin West
by Gilbert Stuart
NPG 349

Letter from Benjamin West to Thomas Phillips, dated 28 July 1802, stating his artistic credo, his opinion of the National Gallery and of Phillips's talents. Note written by Benjamin West giving instructions on how to achieve the effect of light at mid-day in a landscape painting. Note written by Benjamin West giving instructions on how to achieve a storm effect in a landscape painting.

Accounts list of Portraits Painted for the King by Gainsborough Dupont.

Receipt, signed by Ozias Humphry, made out to the Earl Stanhope for fourteen guineas as full payment for his portrait in crayons.

Samuel Lysons
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
NPG 5078

Letter from Lawrence to Samuel Lysons, dated 30 October 1807, expressing his condolences regarding the serious illness of Mrs Lysons.

William Buckland
by Thomas Phillips
NPG 1275

Letter from Buckland to Phillips, dated 19 May 1831, regarding the sitting.

John Constable
by John Constable
circa 1799-1804
NPG 901

Letter from Constable to the artist Thomas Phillips, dated 2 February 1828, giving an account of himself in relation to his candidature for the Royal Academy.

Letter from David Thurlow Cunninghame to Sir George Scharf, dated 10 September 1867, offering to sell the portrait of Baron Thurlow to the National Portrait Gallery and providing information about it.

Letter from Sir Thomas Lawrence to Mrs Croft, sent from Vienna and dated 10 January 1819, speaking of the mission with which he has been honoured by the Prince Regent and describing his 'Painting Room' in the palace.

William Hookham Carpenter
by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
NPG 5708

Letter from Margaret Carpenter to her husband, dated 29 September 1841, giving an account of her stay in Eton.

John William Polidori
by F.G. Gainsford
circa 1816
NPG 991

Handwritten copy (probably by John Murray) of a draft letter written by John Polidori to the editor of the Morning Chronicle giving an account of his role and that of Byron in the creation of The Vampyre. Handwritten copy (probably by John Murray) of a letter from Polidori to his family, from Switzerland, giving an account of his travels between Brussels and Lake Geneva.

John Keats
by Benjamin Robert Haydon
NPG 3251

Letter from Henry Lamb to H.M. Hake, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 27 October 1945, discussing Haydon's and Keats' respective personalities.

Samuel Rogers
by Thomas Phillips
circa 1817
NPG 763

Letter from Samuel Rogers to the Thomas Phillips, undated, regarding the portrait.

Abraham Raimbach
by Sir David Wilkie
NPG 775

Letter from Sir David Wilkie to Abraham Raimbach, dated 22 December 18??, arranging to meet.

Thomas Campbell
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
circa 1820
NPG 198

Letter from William Angerstein to Thomas Campbell, dated 8 March 1830, responding to Campbell's request for material relating to Sir Thomas Lawrence.

Letter from George-Agar Ellis to George Hayter, undated, regarding the sitters to be included in the portrait. George-Agar Ellis's list of sitters. Letter from Hayter (in Paris) to Bowyer (in London), dated 2 April 1830, begging to see proofs of the engraving of the portrait. Page of Hayter's notes and sketches relating to the portrait. Hayter's notes and sketches made in the House of Lords.

Letter from Lawrence to William Walker, dated 7 July 1825, regarding the sittings for, and projected completion of, a portrait of Brougham. Letter from Lawrence to William Walker, dated 3 September 1825, regarding the enlargement of the portrait, payment for it and the proposed engraving.

George Canning
by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and completed by Richard Evans
circa 1825
NPG 1338

Letter from Sir Thomas Lawrence to 'my dear Lord', (perhaps Lord Dudley) dated 8 December 1827, presenting him with a portrait of Canning, of a similar type to NPG 1338 and giving instructions as to how it is to be varnished.

Letter from B.R. Haydon to Georgiana Zornlin, dated 9 March 1824, giving advice on making portraits. Sketch by B.R. Haydon of an artist's palette showing the how the pigments should be arranged (with annotations probably made by Zornlin).

Letter from William Collins to the brother of Charles Eastlake, dated 28 January 1823, speaking of the progress that Eastlake is making as an artist.

Sir Thomas Lawrence
by Richard Evans, after Sir Thomas Lawrence
late 1820s, based on a work of circa 1825
NPG 260

Valuation of the estate of Sir Thomas Lawrence who died in 1830.

Samuel Prout
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(12)

Letter from Prout to Brockedon, dated 7 July 1824, speaking of a proposed journey in Brockedon's company to Sion and one alone to Italy.

William Kitchiner
by William Brockedon
circa 1826
NPG 2515(14)

Printed invitation from Kitchiner to Brockedon, dated 12 May 1826, inviting him to dine with 'The Committee of Taste'.

Letter from William Wilberforce to Sir Thomas Lawrence , dated 26 July 1828, arranging appointments to sit for his portrait. Letter from Sir Robert Inglis to the executor of Sir Thomas Lawrence's estate, dated 9 March 1830, requesting the Wilberforce portrait which Lawrence painted for him.

Edward William Lane
by Richard James Lane
NPG 940

Letter from Stanley Lane-Poole, the donor of the portrait, to Sir George Scharf, 28 March 1893, giving information about the artist and the work.

John Flaxman
by William Brockedon
early 1830s
NPG 2515(32)

Letter from Flaxman to Brockedon, dated 14 December 1824, thanking him for a clipping from a French newspaper in which Flaxman is praised.

Poem, dated May 1829, written by Proctor as Barry Cornwall and inscribed 'To W. Brockedon; on reading his Passes in the Alps.

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Bt
by William Brockedon
circa 1830
NPG 2515(30)

Letter from Scott to Brockedon, dated 12 February 1830, apologising for failing to acknowledge the gift of a copy of Brockedon's book.

Michael Faraday
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(24)

Letter from Faraday to Brockedon, undated, expressing the hope that Brockedon will write a paper for the New Journal.

William Godwin
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(29)

Letter from Godwin to Brockedon, dated 4 September 1832, stating that he never met Oliver Goldsmith and telling him what he knows of Mr Prior.

Henry Hopley White
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(58)

Letter from White to Brockedon, dated 25 February 1832, agreeing to be drawn for the album of portraits which Brockedon is compiling for his son.

Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman
by Sir Martin Archer Shee
circa 1832
NPG 463

List of pictures sent in to the Royal Academy by Sir Martin Archer Shee in 1833, which includes the portrait of Denman.

Letter from Sir George Hayter to Sir George Scharf, dated 29 April 1867, complaining that his painting of The House of Commons, 1833 is being left to deteriorate in a Westminster committee room.

Sir Marc Isambard Brunel
by William Brockedon
circa 1834
NPG 2515(28)

Letter from Brunel to Brockedon, dated 22 May 1834, arranging for Brockedon to see the 'Block Machinery' at the dockyards.

John Dalton
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(66)

Letter from Dalton to Brockedon, dated 20 May 1834, thanking him for the photogenic drawing.

John Galt
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(37)

Letter from Galt to Brockedon, dated 15 December 1832, in which he recalls his journey to Sicily with Byron.

Thomas Phillips
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(70)

Letter from Phillips to Brockedon, dated 17 April 18??, thanking him for the 'photogenic etchings'.

Thomas Telford
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(67)

Letter from Telford to Baron Charles Dupin, dated 22 August 1832, telling him of the preoccupation in England with the application of steam power and stating his intention to introduce Dupin to Brockedon.

Peter Mark Roget
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(79)

Letter from Roget to Brockedon, dated 15 November 1852, thanking him for procuring his election as a 'Visitor' to the Graphic Society.

Sir Charles Wheatstone
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(84)

Letter from Wheatstone to Brockedon, dated 19 November 1834, asking him to signed a petition for relief from the Artist's Benevolent Fund for a Mr Minasi.

Charles Babbage
by William Brockedon
NPG 2515(33)

Letter from Babbage to Brockedon, dated 14th? March (1831?), in which he discusses the Graphic Society.