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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Waldegrave

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


James Waldegrave, 1st Earl Waldegrave (1685-1741)

Succeeded his father, Henry Waldegrave, first Baron Waldegrave, 1689; educated in France; embraced protestantism, 1719; a lord of the bedchamber, 1723; envoy to Paris, 1725; ambassador at Vienna, 1727-30, and Paris, 1730-40; created Earl Waldegrave, 1729; KG, 1738; his correspondence (1728-39) in the British Museum.

1875 By an unknown artist
Pastels on blue paper, 27 ¼ x 21 3/8 in. (690 x 540 mm), laid down on a double sheet of grey paper; blue eyes, light brown eyebrows, grey wig, florid complexion; white cravat, steel armour and red ermine-lined cloak, Garter ribbon and star; grey background.

This portrait dates from the last years of Waldegrave's embassy to Paris and has been attributed by Mr Gunnar Lundberg [1] to Gustaf Lundberg, a Swedish pastellist working in Paris from 1717.

Condition:grey paper torn at corners; original blue paper torn at lower left; another small tear to left of sitter's head; pastel somewhat rubbed; restored, 1920.

Collections:bought, 1920, from Leggatt Bros, the purchasers of lot 99 at Christie's sale of pictures from the London house of the 9th Earl Waldegrave, 14 May 1920; presumably by descent from the sitter.

Iconography

Musgrave records seeing 'Sev pict[ures] by Rigaud' at Navestock, the family's Essex seat, in 1785. [2] Waldegrave commissioned work from Rigaud, [3] but if he sat no canvas is now known. Three portraits at Chewton House are known as our sitter: a miniature of c.1715 [4] by an unknown hand and two three-quarter lengths. That by Kneller (c.1720) is wrongly in­scribed as Henry last Baron Waldegrave, appointed Comptroller of the Household in 1685. The white wand shown would be appropriate to that office, but the dress and apparent age rule out the first Baron who died in 1689. Our sitter, the second Baron, appointed lord of the bedchamber (1723 to death), may be intended. However, while the white wands carried by high officials of the Household were not specifically restricted to certain members in Stuart times, at a later date they are identified only with the Lord Chamberlain (who also carries a key), the Vice Chamberlain, the Lord Steward, the Treasurer, and the Comptroller. It is rather improbable that at this date a lord of the bedchamber would be so depicted.

The other canvas, while conceivably attributable to Rigaud, who died in Paris in 1743, is much closer to J.B. Vanloo. If by the latter it would probably have been painted after the sitter's return to London in the autumn of 1740.

Notes

1. Correspondence, NPG archives.
2. BM Add. MS 6391, f.45.
3. Waldegrave MS, Chewton House.
4. Perhaps the miniature which was bought in at the Strawberry Hill sale, 1842, 18th day, lot 162.