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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir William Beechey (1753-1839), Portrait painter

A brief and unreliable survey of Beechey's self-portraits appears in W. Roberts, Sir William Beechey R.A., 1907, pp 188-9.

Oil self-portrait, RA 1790 (420), reproduced as W. Roberts, Sir William Beechey R.A., 1907, frontispiece, was in E. G. Raphael sale Christie's 20 May 1927 (26) and later in private collection USA (the companion portrait of Lady Beechey (lot 25) is in McCormick College, Chicago); stipple engraving by Ridley published in The Monthly Mirror, 31 July 1798.

Oil self-portrait dated 1794 in a descendant's collection, Devon.

Drawing by Evans after Beechey (NPG 3158).

Beechey appears in the background of Singleton's picture at Burlington House, 'The Royal Academicians in General Assembly', signed and dated 1795, engraved with a key-plate by Bestland 1802, and exhibited RA 1951-2 (33) and RA 1956-7 (511); Beechey appears as Portrait Painter to Her Majesty, not being elected RA till 1798 and therefore not strictly eligible for inclusion in General Assembly.

Pencil and red chalk drawing by George Dance in Royal Academy Library, Burlington House, profile signed and dated 13 December 1795.

Mezzotint by William Ward from a self-portrait, slightly to left, coat with high collar buttoned across chest (John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 6).

Oil self-portrait in Detroit Institute of Arts and other 1799 copies and versions, see NPG 3158. The companion portrait of Lady Beechey holding a chisel is also in Detroit.

Miniature attributed to Joseph Saunders in V&A Museum (P64.1922).

Oil self-portrait in Burlington House, head and shoulders to right in black, purchased 1874 for 10 guineas; he seems to be aged about 40, i.e.1790-1800, but according to W. Roberts, Sir William Beechey R.A., 1907, painted after 1814 (pp 88-9).

Oil on wood panel by Harlow at Somerley (Earl of Normanton), exhibited RA 1816 (82) and RA 1956-7 (384), three-quarter-length seated in fur-trimmed coat with Review picture in background. A canvas copy inscribed: Copy of Sr Wm Beechey's Picture by Harlow given to Helen. WB. was sketched by Scharf 9 February 1867 (Sir George Scharf’s Trustees’ Sketch Books, XI, 42).

Marble bust by E. H. Baily (NPG 5169).

Oil by George Duncan Beechey (Sir William's fourth son and a godson of George III), exhibited RA 1828 (478).

Oil self-portrait lithographed by Miss H. S. Turner with mistaken attribution to Shee (H. S. Turner, Sixty Portraits, footnote to List of Plates).

Miniature by Newton, exhibited RA 1831 (731) and engraved by Scriven for Library of Fine Arts, III, 1832.

Oil by Richard Rothwell offered to the NPG in 1858 by Rothwell himself (Sir George Scharf’s Trustees’ Sketch Books, II, 50) and now in Boston Museum of Fine Arts (35.1220), half-length seated in top-hat, black coat with brass chain and velvet collar, probably that exhibited RHA (Dublin) 1835 (letter from Rothwell in NPG archive).

Oil self-portrait finished by John Wood (NPG 654).

Oil by Thomas Phillips recorded in Phillips's Sitter Book, 6 June 1837, kit-cat, probably the large lithograph by Skelton, half-length seated holding book and crayon.

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.