Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge) (1731-1791), Historian and political polemicist

1764
Pastel? by Katherine Read, half-length seated, a scroll inscribed Magna Charta in her right hand which rests on a volume titled MILTON/POLITIC/WORKS; engraved J. Spelsbury [Spilsbury], a later reversed engraving 1812 pub. Vernon Hood & Sharpe. See also 1770 below.

1765
Drawing by G. B. Cipriani, engraved J. Basire, profile medallion bust lettered CATHARINA MACAULAY, with a small roundel below of four Romans with axe and fasces, inscribed BRUTUS (illus. Bridget Hill, The Republican Virago, The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian, 1992, f.p.114, pl.1). Frontispiece for the third volume of Mrs Macaulay’s History, published in 1767, in imitation of a Roman coin in honour of the republican Brutus, showing the head of Liberty; the small roundel represents the reverse of this coin, showing Brutus’s four sons led to execution for having conspired with the deposed King Tarquin.

1770
Engraving by J. M. Williams, half-length oval, In the Character of a Roman Matron lamenting the lost Liberties of Rome, from an original painting by Miss Read. Williams exhibited an engraving of Mrs Macauley, in the character of a Roman Matron, Society of Artists, London, 1773 (360).

1772
Wax bust by Patience Wright; ‘[Mrs Macaulay] may live by the fingers of Mrs Wright as long as in her republican history, wherein she has given us a picture of her mind; but Mrs Wright has preserved to us the person of this celebrated and patriot female’ (London Mag., XLIV, 1775, pp 53, 556; Wal. Corr., XXXII, p 98 and n24). Wright had come from America.

1772
Painting by P-E. Falconet, small whole length, exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1772 (99).

1773
Painting by Richard Atkinson, exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1773 (1), ‘indifferent & little like’ (Wal. Soc , XXVII, 1939, p 60).

1774
Painting by Mason Chamberlin, whole length, exhibited RA 1774 (34), see NPG 5856.

c.1775
Painting by R. E. Pine, see NPG 5856 and NPG 1357.

1777
Statue by J. F. Moore, Roman classical figure, quill in right hand, a scroll in her left, the base inscribed HISTORY. Warrington Reference Library; formerly in St Stephen, Walbrook, commissioned by Thomas Wilson, rector, unveiled in September 1777 (Gentleman's Magazine, XLVII, 1777, p 458) but removed soon after (Mrs Macaulay not being a parishioner). Engraved anon., the scroll inscribed: GOVERNMENT IS A POWER DELEGATED FOR THE HAPPINESS OF MANKIND and a long inscription on the base (see Bridget Hill, The Republican Virago, The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian, 1992, p 100-01).

c.1777
[Painting?] by Bonnieu, engraved [J. J.?] Hubert, half-length oval within an elaborate frame; presumably published during or soon after her visit to Paris in 1777. A more modest version engraved Marais le jeune c.1792 [Mme. Macaulay/ Histoire d’Angleterre] presumably for the French translation of her History (illus. Bridget Hill, The Republican Virago, The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian, 1992, f.p.114, pl.6).

1778
Painting by Richard Samuel, Portraits in the characters of the Muses, in which Macaulay is alleged to appear; see 4905.

1778
Engraving by J. Caldwall, exhibited Free Society of Artists, London, 1778 (30), see NPG 5856.

1791
Medallion portrait on her monument in All Saints church, Binfield, Berks.

Doubtful Portraits
A half-length portrait attributed to Gainsborough, exhibited Gainsborough, Grosvenor Gallery, 1885 (206) lent E. P. Roberts, from the collection of Mrs D. Arnold, Macaulay’s sister-in-law; listed in W. Armstrong, Gainsborough, 1898, p 199. In 1899 J. J. G. Graham, a great nephew of Mrs Macaulay, wrote that he knew of only two portraits of her; ‘one I possess, either a Romney or a Gainsborough; the other was bought at a sale of Mrs Dr Arnold’s effects (the said Dr Arnold was a nephew of Mrs Macaulay’s second husband), and is now in the possession of Mr E. P. Roberts.’ (Notes and Queries, 9/IV, 1899, p 238).



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.