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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir Ralph Abercromby (1734-1801), General

1787
Miniature by Peter Paillou, signed and dated, Christie's (L. H. Gilbert) 3 December 1963 (58) and again Sotheby's 9 March 5964 (46).

1790-5
Oil attributed to Beechey, head and shoulders in dark blue coat with red collar, gold buttons and braid, grey powdered hair, no Ribbon of the Bath, was in David Minlore's collection 1976.

1797-8
Oil paintings by Hoppner (see NPG 1538).

1800
Miniature, artist unknown, in Royal Collection (Windsor Castle).

1801
Two etchings by John Kay, 'Giving the word of command' and 'Viewing the Army' (equestrian)
both with pyramids in background, signed and dated 1801 and pub. in Kay's Original Portraits, 1842, I, pp 106-8.

Posthumous
After his death, medals were struck in his honour designed by Pidgeon, Webb and others (Scottish NPG).

Thomas Webb's memorial medal is described in Mudie's Catalogue as 'an extraordinary specimen of medallic engraving of nearly a front view. Its drawing, its likeness, its fleshiness and neatness, place Webb among the very first of modern medalists in the class of busts' (L. Forrer, Dictionary of British Medallists, VI, 400, Laurence Brown, British Historical Medals, 1980, 504).

Abercromby's monument by Westmacott, equestrian between two sphinxes and bearing a long incised eulogy, is in St Paul's Cathedral.

A funerary bust supported by two female mourners and lithographed by Metcalf was published in General Hely-Hutchinson's Dispatches, 5 April, 1801.

Dramatic scenes of his mortal wounding at the Battle of Alexandria 21 March 1801 were painted by De Loutherbourg 1802, now at Forglen House (Lady Abercromby), by Sir Robert Ker Porter engraved Vendramini 1804, by Northcote engraved Mitchell 1805 (Northcote's 'Death of Sir Ralph Abercromby' was exhibited RA 1802 and reviewed in The Times, 20 May 1802, 3c), and by Stothard in the Royal Collection (Sir Oliver Millar, The Later Georgian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1969, 1092 and plate 230).

Several popular colour prints were published towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars and passing references to General Abercromby are in two satirical prints of 1803, 'Crocodile Tears', and 1809, 'Munchausen's Return', both by Cruikshank (BM 101 19 and 11367).

Identity doubtful
A portrait in the Tate Gallery (3316) attributed variously to Downman, Danloux, Wheatley or British School, is more likely to be a representation of Lieutenant-General Edward Mathew, Governor of Grenada.



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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.