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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton (1731-1783), Solicitor-General

Advocate; condemned general warrants in 1765; MP 1768-82 and solicitor-general 1768-70; defended Admiral Keppel 1779 and in 1780 carried in the House the resolution that ‘the influence of the Crown has increased, was increasing and ought to be diminished’; created Baron Ashburton 1782; ‘there is not a man, of any profession ... [of] a more manly mind, a more firm and determined integrity’ (Burke).

'Never perhaps did Nature enclose a more illuminated mind, in a body of meaner and more abject appearance. It is difficult to do justice to the peculiar species of ugliness which characterised his person and figure, although he did not labour under any absolute deformity of shape or limb.’ (Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, 1815).

‘Sober Sense and great acuteness are mark’d very strong in his Face, but if this was all, I should only admire Him as a great Lawyer; but there is a Genius ... shines in all [He] says’ (Thomas Gainsborough).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.