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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Cumberland

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

Contents Foreword Introduction Catalogue scope Abbreviations Arrangement of entries

William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-65)

General; third son of George served with distinction at Dettingen, 1743; defeated Prince Charles 'The Young Pretender' at Culloden, 1746; for his severity against the Jacobites, nicknamed 'the butcher'; in command in Holland, defeated at Laeffelt, 1747, and by the French in Germany, 1757; resigned his commands; he owned one of the best studs in England; he died unmarried.

802 By Charles Jervas, c.1728
Oil on canvas, 58 x 44 in. (1270 x 1118 mm); dark blue eyes, mid-brown hair, or wig, falling to shoulders, plump youthful face; red robes of state and collar of the Bath; [1] in an interior with dark green drapery looped up over a recess, right.

Jervas, according to Vertue, 1728, was 'imployd. by the Queen to paint the Picture of Prince William' which proved 'sucesfull'. [2] His own engraving of the type is undated but appears under that year in his manuscript list of engravings, collection W.S. Lewis, Farmington, Connecticut. A double portrait of mother and son, the latter of the same type, has been in the Royal Collection since at least 1816 (Millar, 500). A single version is at Burghley and another was formerly at Woburn, Christie's, 19 January 1951, lot 135. NPG 802 is of fair quality and could be the first version of the type. It was the success of this portrait, according to Vertue, that led to Jervas receiving further royal commissions. The original has not been identified.

Condition: paint rather thin in the right shoulder; lined 1895.

Collections: given 1888, with the 5th Duke of Leeds (NPG 801), by the Earl of Chichester.

Engraved: by Vertue, in reverse, 1728, head and shoulders only.

537 Studio of David Morier, c.1748-9
Oil on canvas, 29 1/4 x 24 in. (749 x 610 mm); dark brown wig, heavy face, brown complexion; scarlet uniform jacket with dark blue facings and cuffs, gold lace, Garter ribbon, cuirass with gold engraving beneath coat, medallion of the Bath suspended from the neck by a red ribbon, white breeches, black boots; a looped green curtain rests on a table, left; a white dog, somewhat emaciated, lies in the foreground right, a balustrade and camp with guards behind; lit from left.

NPG 537 is a version of a whole length in the Royal Collection (Millar, 1969, 951) which, however, has no dog but shows, in the background, a detachment of foot guards drawn up on the parade ground. A similar version, at Welbeck by 1812, [3] is signed at the top DM. Another is at Anglesey Abbey. None of the three is dated but the type appears to represent Cumberland during his command in the Low Countries, 1747-9, and the original may have been painted when Morier was in Germany, 1748-9. [4] The oeuvre of this Swiss artist who worked under Cumberland's patronage soon after his arrival in England from Berne c.1743, requires further clarification. The various portraits at Windsor attributed to him, and other works depicting regiments which took part in the war of the Austrian succession, do not all seem to be by the same hand. Millar points out that the early works which were engraved may possibly form a group. [5]

Condition: discoloured varnish; an old damage in the sky above the encampment; a long semi-circular scratch around his left shoulder runs back into the nose; surface cleaned and varnished 1879; repaired 1889.

Collections: transferred 1879, with Queen Caroline (NPG 529), to the NPG from the British Museum, to whom given by Lt-Gen. Thornton (see above, Queen Caroline, NPG 529, Collections).

Engraved: by J. Faber junior, 1753, in reverse, head and shoulders only (CS 105), in armour.

625 Studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, c.1758-60
Oil on canvas, 29 1/2 x 24 1/2 in. (749 x 622 mm); pale blue eyes, double chin, pale heavy face, short neck, white wig, with tie, half covering his left ear; white neck-cloth, blue uniform coat with blue facings and embroidered Garter star, gold lace and cuffs, [6] Garter ribbon over scarlet waistcoat; plain brown background; strongly lit from top right.

The identification of Reynolds' paintings of Cumberland, whole, three-quarter and short half lengths, present some difficulties. The RA sitter books record three appointments in 1758: 6 March, 20 March and 3 April, time enough to record the sitter's features. Reynolds, in a letter dated 9 September 1777, noted in general that a portrait requires three sittings but if the sitter chooses, the face could be begun and finished in one day. [7] Another appointment is recorded for 1761, 27 July at 11, which could have been for finishing. But which version or versions, whole length or otherwise, are to be associated with these sittings cannot now be known. Of the heads, five at present qualify as products of Reynolds' workshop: NPG 625, which cleaning has revealed to be a picture of quality; Scottish NPG (910), bought 1910 from the collection of the Rev R.F. Elwen and inscribed on the back of the relining canvas as painted for Viscount Keppel by Sir Joshua, 1758; a portrait, like the previous two, in military uniform, Bolingbroke sale, Christie's, 10 December 1943, lot 47; the portrait at Newark Museum, New Jersey, showing the sitter in a general officer's coat, and the portrait in the collection, 1937, of F.W. Dobson, exhibited 'Arts and Antiques in Nottinghamshire', 1937 (523). Only the Newark Museum head has a known line of descent, having come from the Duke of Cambridge's sale, Christie's, 11 June 1904, lot 110. Cambridge was the great-grandson of Cumberland's elder brother Frederick, Prince of Wales, and, like the Mercier of the latter (NPG 2501), the portrait may have belonged to either one of the brothers.

The Reynolds ledgers in the Fitzwilliam Museum show payments for two heads, in both cases for 20 guineas: from a General Hudson, first payment after 17 October 1760, [8] and an undated second payment early in the 1760s from a Colonel Grey. [9] In the sitter book for 1762, under February, Reynolds entered ‘Send the Duke to General Hudson in Sackville Street'. Neither officer has been identified and no sale in either name is recorded by Lugt. Since the NPG 625 pattern was engraved by C. Spooner, the last state published in 1761, and by E. Fisher as after a portrait painted in 1760 (CS 12), and assuming the mezzotint lettering may be relied upon, NPG 625 or something very like it must have been completed by 1760. The portrait could, however, have been engraved while still in the studio, suggesting that NPG 625 might conceivably be the head painted either for General Hudson or Colonel Grey. The sitter abandoned all his commands in 1757, and since he is shown in uniform there may even be grounds for thinking that the portrait was begun in 1756, for which year the sitter books are missing.

The fine whole length in Garter robes at Chatsworth to which NPG 229 conforms (see below) uses the same face mask as NPG 625 and is accepted by Waterhouse [10] as the prime version. It may in fact represent Reynolds' final, rather than his first, thoughts on Cumberland.

Condition: the flesh colour as in other Reynolds of this date may have faded; surface cleaned and polished, August 1895; cleaned, retouched and revarnished 1970, when deep dirt, in the wrinkling (caused by excessive medium) was removed, with considerable improvement to the lighting and modelling.

Collections: bought, 1881, from Colnaghi's; from the collection of the 1st Earl of Northbrook, grandson of the banker Sir Francis Baring (d.1810). Colnaghi's believed the portrait to have been in the collection of the 2nd Lord Northwick, but this is not his Reynolds, nearly whole length, Phillips, 2 August 1859, lot 407, which went to the Duke of Portland. No other portrait corresponding to this type appears in the 1859 Northwick sale.

Engraved: by C. Spooner, four states, the last published 1761 (CS 10-13) and by E. Fisher, J. Reynolds Pinxit 1760, the latter closer to NPG 625 than to any other known versions.

229 After Sir Joshua Reynolds, c.1758-60
Oil on canvas, 34 1/2 x 23 1/4 in. (876 x 590 mm); grey wig, whitish face, corpulent; Garter robes; dark brown drapery behind; lit from right.

A copy, with minor differences, of the whole length in the Devonshire collection, Chatsworth. Scharf suggests it was painted 'by John Powell, a pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds, as a guide to the engraver'. [11]

Condition: slightly rubbed and varnish discoloured; re-stretched and extended approximately ½ in. down left side of the picture; repaired 1889.

Collections: bought, 1867, from J.N. Breun of Greek Street, London.

Literature: Lord Albemarle, Memoirs of Rockingham, 1852; E.P. Hilles, Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1929; R.W. Goulding and C.K. Adams, Catalogue of the Pictures Belonging to His Grace the Duke of Portland, 1936; A.E. Haswell Miller and N.P. Dawnay, Military Drawings and Paintings in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1966; M. Whinney, Victoria and Albert Museum, English Sculpture 1720-1830, 1971.


Ten days before his death, according to Lord Albemarle, he had, ‘grown enormously fat, had completely lost the use of one eye, and saw but imperfectly with the other. He was asthmatic'. [12]


Cumberland's appearance is well documented but his portraits, unlike those of his brother Frederick now mainly lodged in the Royal Collection, are widely scattered.

As a child

He was painted c.1725 in robes of the Bath, presumably to celebrate his investi­ture that year, the portrait being engraved by J. Simon (CS 49) but without an artist's name. The type has been attributed to Kelberg. [13] An important whole length at Narford Hall, Norfolk, in the robes of a knight of the Bath, shows him with his sponsor Sir Andrew Fountaine and there are similar oils in the Brunswick collection and at Plas Newydd, collection Marquess of Anglesey. To c.1728 belong the portrait by Jervas (NPG 802, above) and the double portrait of the Prince and his mother in the Royal Collection (Millar, 500). In c.1730 he was painted when invested with the Garter. A portrait by Amigoni at Easton Neston, collection Lord Hesketh, shows the first signs of obesity. Another type, also in Garter robes and of about this time, is engraved by Faber junior after Highmore ad vivum, but no original is known. The portrait by Hogarth, now in the collection of Lord Glenconner, [14] mentioned by Vertue about 1733, [15] is a sketch for the cancelled picture of the family of George II (Millar, 559); the figure in Hogarth's 'Conquest of Mexico', collection Teresa, Viscountess Galway, is very similar.

As a youth

An undated portrait attributed to Pond is probably of the late 1730s. The original is thought to be the version at Goodwood. A replica belonged in 1934 to Major General Sir John Hanbury Williams.A copy at Althorp (347) was made in 1740. [17]

Later portraits

A painting by Francesco Carlo Rusca (in England 1738-40) is known only through Simon's engraving. This is close to the head in the equestrian portrait painted by Hudson and Wootton (Millar, 554, pl.201) for Frederick, Prince of Wales. It is signed and dated 1744, and represents Cumberland at Dettingen, 1743. The inscription is in a cartouche similar to that in Wootton's portrait of George IIin the same battle, formerly in the Leeds collection and now in the National Army Museum (see below George II,Iconography). A portrait by Wootton showing the sitter with Lord Henry Campbell and Sir John Ligonier, in the Duke of Argyll's collection at Inveraray, is stated to depict the battle of Laeffelt, 1747; [17] in the painting at Hopetoun, Linlithgow collection, also given to Wootton, he is apparently represented at Culloden. A number of popular engravings also appeared at about this time.

An anonymous whole length, known only from an unidentified press cutting in the NPG files, could prove to be by Pond; it is perhaps of near 1745, and shows Cumberland in something approaching a general officer's uniform, with a baton held diagonally in his right hand. The picture is splendidly framed with military attributes. The series of equestrian portraits by David Morier in the Royal Collection (Millar, 1969, 943-50) were produced 1743-50; his whole length type, represented by NPG 537, is of c.1750. Apart from these Moriers, portraits elsewhere attributed to him and using a similar face mask are the Woottonesque view of Cumberland with Ligonier to the left, formerly in the collection of Viscountess St Cyres, at Christie's, 20 July 1956, lot 124; one from the Duke of Gloucester's collection, sold at Christie's, 8 May 1959, lot 9, and a third in the Rosebery sale, Christie's, 5 May 1939, lot 97. These appear to be by hands different from one another and from NPG 537.

An anonymous equestrian portrait of good quality of c.1755, in the Royal Collection, may, according to Millar (1969, 1215), be by Brompton or Benjamin Wilson. The Reynolds portraits belong to 1758-60 when Cumberland's sittings are documented. The artist's ledgers at the Fitzwilliam include payments for portraits for the Earl of Albemarle, the Princess of Hesse and Princess Amelia and one for the Earl of Sandwich, formerly at Hinchingbroke. Millar suggests that the Royal Collection whole length in Garter robes (1969, 1010) was painted for Amelia. A three-quarter length version with variations in the robes is at Wel­beck from the Northwick collection. [18] The Royal Collection Kit-cat size presented to George IV by Sir William Keppel, 1829, is presumably the portrait for which General Keppel paid Reynolds £76 18s after I0 September 1764 (Millar, 1969, 1009).

Cumberland also appears in Reynolds' picture of the marriage of George III (Millar, 1969, 1012). One of the last portraits, by Sawrey Gilpin and William Marlow (Millar, 1969, 826), c.1764, shows him visiting his stud. He likewise appears in drawings in the Royal Collection by Thomas Sandby.


The outstanding piece is Rysbrack's marble bust, signed and dated 1754, collection Teresa, Viscountess Galway. A terracotta for it, sold at Spinks, 1932, once Sir Edward Littleton's, is now in the Musée Royale des Beaux Arts, Brussels. A terracotta of the sitter appeared at Langford's, 14 February 1767, lot 59. [19] A fine wax by Gosset, Vertue refers to one in 1752, [20] is in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; another is owned by E.J. Pyke. A lead bust with affinities to the style of John Cheere is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. [21] A similar one was with Peel and Humphris, 1955. A posthumous marble by Nollekens, Royal Collection, is incised and dated 1814. A number of medals are listed, one having been struck on the revival of the order of the Bath, 1725, and other types at the time of Culloden; several are by Richard Yeo. [22]

False portraits

An engraving supposedly of the Prince as an infant is an anonymous adaptation of Smith's mezzotint after Kneller, issued at the birth of James, 'The Old Pretender' (q.v. under Iconography).


1. In 1725, on the revival of the order, the Prince, then aged four, was elected a Companion and duly installed.
2. Vertue, III, p.17.
3. 1812 Catalogue; Goulding and Adams (180).
4. Haswell Miller and Dawnay, I, p.8, and note 6; also p.12.
5. In a letter, January 1970.
6. Not the uniform of the 1st foot guards, of which Cumberland was colonel, 1742-57. This would have been a scarlet jacket and blue cuffs and lapels, with a single ring of gold lace on the upper cuff on the undress. No change in the colour of the jacket is visible to the naked eye.
7. Hilles, letter XL, p.56.
8. Cormack, p.123.
9. Ibid, p.121.
10. Waterhouse, 1941, pp.45, 120.
11. Scharf, p.134.
12. Albemarle, I, p.244.
13. Thieme-Becker, XX, pp.83-4.
14. Exh. 'European Masters of the Eighteenth Century', RA, 1954-5 (43).
15. Vertue, III, p.68.
16. Waterhouse, MS catalogue (347), NPG archives.
17. Exh. 'The Grenadier Guards', St James's Palace, 1956 (48).
18. Goulding and Adams (115).
19. Webb, p.214; Lugt (1586).
20. Vertue, III,p.160.
21. Whinney, Victoria & Albert Museum . .., p.94, reproduced p.95.
22. Medallic Illustrations, II, pp.605-18; also Spink's Numismatic Circular, March-April 1915, pp.151-2.