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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Ralph Allen (1693-1764), Philanthropist; known as 'The Man of Bath'

The Man of Bath'. Businessman and philanthropist; employed in the Bath post office; detected, 1715, a Jacobite plot thereby gaining the patronage of General Wade; improved and expanded the postal system from which he derived, with other enterprises, a considerable fortune; built Prior Park; a celebrated host, his friends included Pope, Pitt, Warburton and Fielding who immortalized him as Squire Allworthy in Tom Jones.

‘... rather above the middle height, of stout build ... very grave and well-looking ... extremely plain in his costume, and remarkably courteous in his behaviour’. [1]

Footnotesback to top

1) Dictionary of National Biography, I, p 312.

Referencesback to top

Boyce 1967
B. Boyce, The Benevolent Man. A Life of Ralph Allen of Bath, Cambridge, Mass., 1967.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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.