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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Augustus Keppel, Viscount Keppel (1725-1786), Admiral

Naval officer; 2nd son of 2nd Earl of Albemarle; sailed round the world with Anson 1740 and undertook a diplomatic mission to Tunis 1749; served in America 1754-55 and West Indies 1761-64; captain 1744, rear-admiral 1762, vice-admiral 1770 and admiral 1778; MP 1755-82; lord of the Admiralty 1765-66; commander in the Channel 1778-79 when the French fleet escaped off Ushant, for which he was court martialled; his acquittal led to widespread rejoicing; first lord of the Admiralty 1782-83; created Viscount 1782.

‘[he had] neither dignity in his person nor intelligence in his countenance, the features of which were of the most ordinary cast; and his nose, which, in consequence of an accident that befell him in the course of his professional life, had been almost laid flat, gave him an equally vulgar and unpleasant air’ (Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, 1815).

'Low of stature [with a] fractured bridge to his nose [by which] his face was seriously and permanently disfigured; yet the fascination of his smile, and the lively and benevolent expression of his eyes, redeemed the countenance from extreme plainness’ (Thomas Keppel, 1842).

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.