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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Paul Jones (1747-1792), Seaman adventurer

Silhouette by Jean Millette, half length. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, New York (illus. S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, f.p.9).

Engraving by J. E. Haid, three-quarter length standing in uniform with tricorne hat, a telescope in his right hand, inscribed ... Commander of a Squadron in the Service of the Thirteen United States of North America 1779. The example in the NPG Washington (67.54) listed as by Haid; similar plates are given to R. Brookshaw, or unattributed (J. C. Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, IV, p 1735, no.97). A close version by Joh. Lorenz Rugendas and a reduced version, head only, engraved C. Bogerts from a drawing by J. Buys. A copy in oil (30 x 25 cm.), inscribed John Paul Jones 1779, was sold Sotheby’s, 4th day, 21 June 1928, lot 861, bought Maggs, as the original of the mezzotint by R. Brookshaw, and a related enamel was last sold Christie’s, 25 July 1977, lot 22.

Bust by J-A. Houdon, bare-headed, in uniform wearing the croix du mérite militaire. Plaster dated 1780 commissioned by the Masonic Loge des Neuf Soeurs, Paris, exhibited Salon 1781 (261). Two terracottas were in the Houdon sales of 1795 and 1828. A marble dated 1781 is in the US Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis MD (formerly in the collection of the duc de Nemours; illus. H. H. Arnason, Houdon, 1975, fig.126).
Bronze casts include those in the NPG Washington (71.8), the Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Mass.
Jones sent plasters to Washington, Franklin, Lafayette, d’Estaing, Baron Grimm, Roger Morris and Jefferson (this last received by February 1786; now Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass.; illus. H. H. Arnason, Houdon, 1975, pl.63); he sent eight more to America in 1789 and another was commissioned by the State of North Carolina in March 1791 (see The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton, XV, 1958, pp XXXVII-XXXVIII, 122, 376, 437-38, 551, 591). Today plasters include those in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Versailles; the musée de Blérancourt, and the Scottish NPG (PG 669).

Drawing by J-M. Moreau le jeune, half length in naval uniform with hat, with an inscription below ... dessiné d’apres nature au mois de may, 1780, à Paris ... Louisiana State Museum, Patterson LA (illus. Art Quarterly, XIV, 1951, p 350). Engraved J-B. Fosseyeux 1781.

Unattributed painting, bust-length, in uniform without medals; a copy by G. P. A. Healy, commissioned in 1846, is at Versailles (illus. Peintures, 1995, I, p 454).

Miniature, bust length, in blue coat with yellow facings, wearing the croix du mérite militaire. NPG Washington (73.10). Versions are in the US Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis MD., and in the Hermitage Museum (illus. A. C. Buell, Paul Jones, 1900, I, front.). Engraved anon. (illus. S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, f.p.280).
Said to have been painted in Paris by the ‘Countess Lavendal’ [Constance de Lowendal, comtesse de Turpin de Cerissé, or Charlotte-Marguerite de Bourbon, comtesse de Lowendahl], who drew ‘his picture (a striking likeness) ...and presented it to him’, making him ‘like a second Narcissus, in love with his own resemblances’ (Jones, Memoirs, 1830, II, p 254; S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, p 279).
A second, less reliable, account described a miniature ‘painted on ivory by a Dutch artist named Van der Huydt, to whom Jones gave sittings in 1780, and was presented by him to the duc de Chartres; two or three replicas were made by Van der Huydt, one given to the comtesse de la Vendahl’ (A. C. Buell, Paul Jones, 1900, II, p 337).

Wax medallion attributed to J-M. Renaud, bust length in uniform with the croix du mérite militaire. Scottish NPG (PGL 104; illus. Proc. of the Soc. of Antiquaries of Scotland, XL, 1906, p 79). Sent by Jones from Paris to a Mrs Belches in Scotland, with a covering letter of 29 August 1786 (ibid., pp 77-78) and possibly one of the three wax medals Jones mentioned in 1789, see NPG 4022. The head resembles that in the 1780 miniature listed above.

Painting by C. W. Peale, bust-length oval, in blue coat with red facings, wearing the croix du mérite militaire. Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia (illus. S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, f.p.280; see Selected Papers of C. W. Peale, I, 1983, p 441n6). Engraved J. B. Longacre 1852. Jefferson thought it a very bad likeness (S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, p 311). A miniature copy was made by either James or Anna Peale.

Painting by C-J. Notte, half length, standing on deck in uniform during the engagement between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis. Engraved C. Guttenberg (NPG Washington, 79.201). A related painting in a private collection in 1949 (photograph NPG archive). The head was evidently the ultimate source for the oval half length engraved J. Chapman 1796, without hat, pistols in his belt.

Morison (S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, p.8n) recorded a wax portrait with light brown hair in the US Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis MD, and another miniature in the Masonic Library, Boston, Mass. A. C. Buell, Paul Jones, II, p 338, described a full-length portrait by ‘Chapelle’, standing on his quarter deck in full uniform, a glass in left hand, the head taken from the Houdon bust.

Medal by Augustin Dupré, see NPG 4022.

Doubtful Portraits
There were many propagandist images of Jones, whose appearance prior to 1780 remained generally unknown. A medallion engraving (illus. S. E. Morison, John Paul Jones, 1960, f.p.72) was said to be from a sketch taken by Simon Fokke in Amsterdam in October 1779. The American journal, The King, 8 July 1905, pp 471, 473 (NPG archive), illustrated four engravings of Jones, bearing no relationship to his appearance as documented by Houdon: a profile head inscribed: Ce marin Anglois Eut merité d’être François; two whole-length oval prints, as Commodore and Captain in the American navy, possibly of Dutch origin, and a whole length, sabre in hand, published in London in 1780.

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.