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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

(John) Joshua Kirby (1716-1774), Artist and teacher of linear perspective; friend of Thomas Gainsborough

The only substantial account of Kirby is by Gainsborough who painted him three times: NPG 1421 and two single portraits of which one, stated to be of the mid 1750s, [1] is in the Victoria and Albert Museum; the other is in the Fitzwilliam. [2] The latter has been equated with the portrait sent to the Society of Artists exhibition (37) in 1764. [3] A drawing by Gainsborough 'A landscape with a courtship - portraits of Jos. Kirby and his wife', apparently lot 4 of the 1860 Trimmer sale, is not now known. A profile drawing by P. Falconet signed and dated 1768, collection W. A. Brandt was at Christie's, 12 November 1968, lot 50. It was engraved by D. P. Pariset. The Dictionary of National Biography records a portrait by Hogarth in the collection, 1867, of G. C. Handford. [4]

1) Sir Ellis K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, p 77 (418).
2) Ibid, (419).
3) W. T. Whitley, Thomas Gainsborough, 1915, p 43.
4) Dictionary of National Biography, XI, p 199.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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.