Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Dinwiddie

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

Robert Dinwiddie (1693-1770)

Colonial official; collector of customs, Bermuda, 1727, and surveyor general of customs in southern American ports; governor of Virginia, 1751-7; suffered a stroke c.1751; retired to Bristol, 1757. [1]

By an unknown artist
Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 25 in. (757 x 635 mm); hazel eyes, sallow complexion, plump face, grey wig;,grey coat and matching waistcoat with gold-braided button holes; a green-covered chair, right; light brown background.

The identification is traditional and strongly supported by comparison with the miniature of about the same date signed 'C.D.', C(harles?) Dixon, [2] given 1939, to Colonial Williamsburg by Sir Campbell Stuart, a descendant of the sitter. A MS label on the stretcher of NPG 1640, partly obscured by the sealing paper, gives the portrait, improbably, to Allan Ramsay. [3] It is by a much less able hand, possibly English rather than American. Dinwiddie was abroad more or less continuously from 1727 to 1758 though in London during the period c.1749-51.

there is an alteration to the outline of his right shoulder, and an exten­sion to his left cuff; possibly cut down.

bought, 1912, from Miss Mary Dinwiddie; owned c.1884 by Mrs M.A. Dinwiddie, widow of General Gilbert-Hamilton Dinwiddie, great-nephew of the sitter, who also owned a miniature of the sitter's brother Lawrence and the portrait of his daughters ascribed to Ramsay, now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight. [4]

Literature: The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie,
I and II, ed. R.A. Brock, Virginia Historical Society, NS vols 3-4, 1873-4; Virginia Historical Portraiture 1585-1830, ed. A.W. Weddell, Virginia, 1930.


The only other known portrait said to represent the sitter is one owned, 1933, by the Lockhart family. [5] Although datable to some twenty years earlier, it is difficult to reconcile this long thin face with NPG 1640. The Rev. John Lockhart (d.1842) married, as his first wife, Elizabeth Dinwiddie but no reference is made to her in the genealogy given in 1912 by Miss Dinwiddie.


1. Weddell, pp.179-80.
2. D. Foskett, A Dictionary of British Miniature Painters, 1972, I, pp.246-7; II, pl.86.
3. When described, 1873, for Brock, I, p.ix; II, frontispiece.
4. 'The Dinwiddie Sisters', Connoisseur, LXXXVII, 1931, reproduced p.121.
5. Burke, Landed Gentry, 1925, p.1114, under Lockhart, of Milton Lockhart.