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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Richard Mead (1673-1754), Physician

A leading practitioner as well as a distinguished scholar and collector, Mead was most frequently portrayed between the years 1725 and his death, 1754. The main collection of portraits is in the Royal College of Physicians. [1] These include a drawing of 1725 by the antiquary William Stukeley, a miniature by Lens now somewhat damaged, painted the following year, and two versions of a profile by Arthur Pond, the artist and dealer, dated 1739 and 1743. A half length by Dahl datable on costume to c.1730 lent to the Second Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1867 (381) by the sitter's descendant Sir H. S. Wilmot, Bart, [2] is now missing. The Richardson drawings (NPG 4157) and the first Ramsay type (NPG 15) belong to this period.
The finest portraits were taken in Mead's later years. An undated three-quarter length presented to the College of Physicians by Dr Charles Chauncey in 1759 is possibly by Hoare, c.1740. The drawing by Joseph Vanhaecken, Scottish National Gallery (2164), is related to the Ramsay whole length of 1747 in the Foundling Hospital. A bust by Roubiliac was commissioned after the sitter's death by Dr Askew and the marble given by him to the College of Physicians in 1756; its presentation of Mead's 'real features' was much commended. [3] A terracotta model for it purchased at Roubiliac's sale [4] was presented, 1762, to the British Museum by Dr Maty who wrote a biography of the sitter. Scheemaker's monument in Westminster Abbey is dated 1754.

1) G. Wolstenholme and D. Piper, The Royal College of Physicians of London Portraits, 1964, pp 282-91.
2) The then owner of Queen Caroline by Amigoni, painted for her physician Mead (now NPG 4332, see Queen Caroline).
3) G. Wolstenholme and D. Piper, The Royal College of Physicians of London Portraits, 1964, p 290.
4) K. A. Esdaile, The Life and Works of Louis François Roubiliac, 1928, p 103.


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.