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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778-1823), Performing artist and Egyptologist

There are three engravings showing Belzoni in Egyptian costume as in NPG 829:

(1) A lithograph by M. Gauci, three-quarter-length with hookah and background of pyramid and date palm, used as frontispiece to his Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries … in Egypt and Nubia, 1820; the next two editions of 1821 and 1822 use the same picture with variations, one lithographed by Hullmandel.
(2) Head and shoulders stipple by Thomson from a slightly different portrait, published H. Fisher 1824.
(3) Head and shoulders stipple by Woolnoth 'from an Original Portrait' published Dean & Munday 1825.
Examples of all three in NPG.

Portraits not in Egyptian costume arranged chronologically are:

Anon. etching in British Museum Print Room of a group of 'Five Remarkable Characters' (Engraved British Portraits, (Groups), p 61).

Watercolour drawing by R. H. Norman in British Museum Percival Collection vol.III showing Belzoni's human pyramid, 'Sig Belzoni the Patagonian Sampson as he appeared at Sadlers Wells Theatre on Easter Monday 1803 carrying eleven persons, the iron apparatus weighing 127 lbs' (reproduced Stanley Mayes, The Great Belzoni, 1959, p 33).

In costume as Hercules performing feats of strength at Astley's Amphitheatre, a coloured etching by A. van Assen after a drawing by J. Parry.

Bronze medal by T. J. Wells (copy in Brtish Museum) struck to celebrate the opening of the second Pyramid on 2 March 1818, signed T I WELLS F. THOMASON & JONES DIREX; the profile on the obverse was presumably based on a drawing made before Belzoni's departure from England in 1815.

Gold medal by Luigi Manfredini (copy in British Museum), struck by the City of Padua in honour of their famous son, unfortunately bears no profile.

The bearded portraits by Gauci and Brockedon noted above were followed by a painting and lithograph probably by Agostino Aglio with lithographic repetitions by J. Thomson in The European Magazine, 82, August 1822, p 99 and by Fabroni published by Sarah Belzoni in 1824, all showing Belzoni fashionably dressed with moustache and side-whiskers.

A bronze bust by Giancarlo Milani is in the Museo Civico, Padua.

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.