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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Sir William Chambers (1723-1796), Architect

A brief survey appears in J. Harris, Sir William Chambers, 1970, p 173.

1752-53
Painting by L-G. Blanchet, with volumes of Vitruvius and Palladio. Untraced (see Bowron & Rishel, Art in Rome in the 18th century, 2000, p 327).

c.1756-60
Painting by Joshua Reynolds, see NPG 27.

c.1760-65
Painting by Joshua Reynolds, unfinished half length. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.345). Engraved S. W. Reynolds 1794. Versions sold Sotheby’s, 9 November 1960, lot 94, and in a private Scottish collection.

1764
Pastel by Francis Cotes, half length. Scottish NPG (PG 629; E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, 1976, no.137, fig.46). Engraved R. Houston 1771-72; W. Bromley 1792 and 1796. A contemporary pastel copy in the RIBA; a good version in oil at Somerset House (GAC O.252; illus. Connoisseur, XCIV, 1934, p 142).

1768
Drawing by P-E. Falconet, medallion (British Museum, 1881.06.11.152). Engraved D. P. Pariset 1769, and ‘Parriset’ (rectangular, titled ‘Architect to the King’).

1772
Painting by Johann Zoffany, The Academicians of the Royal Academy, see NPG 1437. The figure of Chambers alone was engraved as a whole length by J. Romney 1817.

1775
Chalk drawing by Robert Dunkarton. Paul Tyler in 1970 (J. Harris, Sir William Chambers, 1970, p 173).

c.1775
Miniature by Jeremiah Meyer, see NPG 4044.

1776
Miniature by George Engleheart, bust-length oval. Wellesley sale, Sotheby’s, 13 February 1958, lot 6 (with other miniatures of the family), by descent from the sitter. Engleheart’s fee-book records five miniatures of Chambers in 1776 and another in 1782 (G. C. Williamson & H. L. D. Engleheart, George Engleheart, 1902, pp 23, 25, 80).

1778-80
Painting by Joshua Reynolds, three-quarter length seated, with a distant view of Somerset House. Royal Academy, commissioned by the Academy (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.346). Engraved V. Green 1780; J. Collyer 1785; G. Murray 1794; W. C. Edwards (bust length) 1830. Copies include those recorded in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, by Thomas Robson (Warrington Art Gallery) and by H. P. Briggs (see D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, nos.346a-d) and a bust-length oval miniature copy on porcelain in an English private collection. See also NPG 3159.

1782
Miniature by George Engleheart, see 1776.

Painting by J. F. Rigaud, Chambers with Sir Joshua Reynolds and Joseph Wilton, see NPG 987.

before 1785
Portrait in the collection of Lord Bessborough in 1785 at Roehampton, a house designed by Chambers in the 1760s (Musgrave MSS 6391, f.199v).

1787
Wax portrait medallion by Charles Peart; used for the Wedgwood medallion of 1788 (illus. R. Reilly and G. Savage, Wedgwood the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 87).

1788
Painting by C. F. von Breda, half length. RIBA, on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum (RIBA 3-2001; illus. History of the King’s Works, VI, 1973, pl.1). Commissioned by Chambers. Exhibited RA 1788 (197).

1790
Bust by François Le Masson, exhibited RA 1790 (534).

1793
Drawing by George Dance, half-length profile, dated 17 March 1793. Royal Academy. Engraved W. Daniell 1809 (A Collection of Portraits sketched from the Life since the Year 1973 by George Dance Esqr. R.A. and engraved in imitation of the Original Drawings by William Daniell, A.R.A., 2 vols, 1814). Fuseli commented on this drawing: ‘What a grate, heavy, humpty-dumpty, this leaden fellow is’ (J. T. Smith, Nollekens and his Times, ed. W. Whitten, 1905, p 204). A second drawing exhibited Sublime and the Beautiful, Sabin, 1973 (5), illus. pl.1.

1795
Painting by Henry Singleton, President and Members of the Royal Academy.

Posthumous
1797
Marble bust by Richard Westmacott. Soane Museum (illus. J. Harris & M. Snodin, eds, Sir William Chambers, 1996, p 10; M. Busco, Sir William Westmactorr, 1994, p 11). Exhibited RA 1797 (1129). Commissioned by the Office of Works.

1857
Profile bust by Benjamin Wyon, for a medal minted in 1857 for the Art Union of London (L. Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960: The Reign of Queen Victoria, 1987, no.2596). Exhibited RA 1858 (1118). Derived from the Westmacott bust; example in the NPG reference collection (D2911). (J. Harris, Sir William Chambers, 1970, p 173, attributed the medal in error to William Wyon).

1909
Stone bust by Gilbert Bayes. Victoria and Albert Museum, south front.

Doubtful Portraits
Miniature by W. S. Lethbridge (1771-1831), leaning over a table on which are Mitchells Plans & Views and Chambers Architecture, exhibited Miniatures from the Hothfield Heirlooms, Soho Square, London, 1936 (95).



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.