Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath (1684-1764), Statesman

Portraits are not uncommon, but there is no published account. Bath was painted by Kneller 1717 when Mr Pulteney (Kit-cat portrait, NPG 3194), and by Jervas, whole length, probably in the 1720s; formerly at Northwick Park, [1] it was engraved three-quarter length by W. H. Mote, 1835. A head and shoulders by an unknown artist, inscribed and dated 1741, was sketched by Scharf in the Betts sale, Christie's, 30 May 1868, lot 28. [2] Another, with volumes of Cicero, has been at Raby Castle since c.1750. [3]
Two portraits of 1757, described in letters from the sitter to Zachary Pearce, Bishop of Rochester and Dean of Westminster, are referred to as by Howard, but since he writes from Bath, the painter is possibly Hoare. The first is dated 14 December 1757:

'I design to sit for my picture to a most excellent Painter [who] is here. He has drawn one Picture of mine already for Lady Gertrude Hotham, and has done it so admirably well, and so exceedingly like me, that I am sure you would be pleased with it, and I dare answer for it on a second tryal he will outdo what he has already so successfully done. He has drawn two of the finest Portraits I ever saw for the late Mr Pelham and Mr Secretary Pit, and a whole length of my Lord Lincoln [all were painted by Hoare] beyond what any Painter in England can do. So that if you please I will get my picture for you finished before I leave this place.'
Ten days later, 24 December, he wrote:

‘The day after I had your leave for doing it, I satt to Mr Howard for my Picture, and I can assure you that it will be a better, as well as more like one than the first, which everybody here commended most extreamly. I hope it may be finished to send up to London soon after me, but as he is resolved to do every stroke of the Drapery himself, it will take a little longer time because he has a vast deal of business.
All Portraits should be placed in some likely attitude, which gives Vivacity and Expression to the Countenance, and the Action I have chosen is this. I am sitting in my Robes in my Library, with a table before me, as if I was just come in, and your Edition of Cicero was then brought me, in a present from your Lordship; when the Picture is placed in your Library, it will seem as if I was speaking to you, and thanking you for your kind Present, which I am putting on a shelf in my own. The Posture is extreamly easy, and the Picture extreamly like, which pleases me much because I cannot give it to any one I esteem more.'

The last letter is endorsed ‘Jany, 1758'. [4]:

'My Picture will be sent up soon after me, and I dare say you will like it, for everybody here says it is most excessively like, as well as a good Portrait.'
Both portraits are now lost unless the Raby three-quarter length be one of them. In style it is not far from Hoare, though more wooden, and the only type known with the volumes of Cicero. On the other hand Bath is not wearing robes as he apparently was in the second 1757 portrait. There remain three portraits all in earl's parliamentary robes, two by Reynolds, of 1755-7 and 1761, discussed above, and a head and shoulders type by Ramsay, engraved by D. Martin in 1763. [5] Versions are at Hagley, then Lord Lyttelton's seat, and elsewhere. The portrait was probably painted for Lord Lyttelton who, like Bath, was a friend and admirer of Mrs Montagu; she may well have led him to go to Ramsay to whom she herself sat in 1762. [6]
In a letter dated 13 May that year, she writes to Bath concerning a portrait that was to be retouched:

'Mr Ramsay would be glad if your Lordship would sit to him tomorrow morning for the retouching Yr picture any hour after one. He is to bestow some of the morning upon my picture after yours is done if I am able to sit, but as I doubt of that, wish yr Lordship wd send him word this afternoon if you can not go to him, that he may not be totally disappointed. My venerable perfections have received great addition since your Lordship saw the picture. If Mr Ramsays pencil did not rather attempt the amiable than the solemn I should be afraid that in the present disposition you should be guilty of image worship.'
Also Bath to Mrs Montagu, undated:

'Are you to be at Ramsays this morning, dark and gloomy as it is, or do you and Mrs Carter propose to drink Tea with me this afternoon ...'. [7]
Bath also appears (fourth from the left) in Charles Philips' 'Tea-Party at Lord Harrington's House', 1739, Mellon collection (219) [8] and in a portrait at Lathom House, Lancashire, in 1819. [9] A painting depicting him with Sir W. Stanhope was in the Stowe sale catalogue, 1848-9, 21st day, lot 22. A medallion by Joseph Wilton is in Westminster Abbey, and medals by Dassier in [the National Portrait Gallery and] the British Museum. [10]

1) Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures at Northwick Park (T. Borenius), 1921, p 124; not recorded before Mote's engraving. The portrait includes a bust of Cicero over a volume of Plutarch.
2) His copy of the sale catalogue, NPG archives.
3) Sketchbooks of Sir George Scharf, MS in NPG archives, LXXXIV, p 37; Scharf compares a picture offered to the NPG by Mr Douglas of Lansdown House, Bath, February 1880.
4) Correspondence (Westminster Abbey Muniments, 64697) communicated by L. Tanner, 1961; neither the portrait for Lady Hotham (wife of Sir Charles Hotham, 5th Bart) nor that painted for Zachary Pearce is recorded at the NPG.
5) F. O'Donoghue and Sir Henry M. Hake, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits ... in the British Museum, 1908-25 mis-dates as 1753.
6) A. Smart, 'The Genuine Portrait of General Burgoyne by Ramsay', Apollo, XCIV, 1971, p 127.
7) Huntington Library and Art Gallery, Montagu MS, MO 5418, 4251.
8) Mellon collection, 1963 catalogue, p 116.
9) J. P. Neale, Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen etc., II, 1819.
10) British Museum, Medallic Illustrations of the History of Great Britain and Ireland, compiled F. Hawkins and others, II, p 586; pl.clxiii (7).


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.