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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Spencer Perceval (1762-1812), Prime Minister

The Dictionary of National Biography states that no ad vivum portrait of Perceval is believed to exist. However a number are certainly recorded.

Spencer Perceval and Jane Maryon Wilson were married on 10 August 1790; a possible marriage portrait may have been the miniature by Plimer exhibited Burlington Fine Arts Club, Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures, 1889 lent by Captain H. B. Murray, perhaps a pair to Plimer's miniature of the bride reproduced Denis Gray, Spencer Perceval: the Evangelical Prime Minister, 1963, p 10.

Miniature by Miles known from Cardon's stipple engraving 'from a Miniature by Miles 1792 in the Possession of Mrs Perceval'.

Oil by Lawrence at Christie's 23 November 1984 (90), half-length in black, seated on a blue flowery sofa, identity doubtful (Kenneth Garlick, ‘Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’ in Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, 1964).

Miniature by William Wood exhibited Burlington Fine Arts Club, Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures, 1889 and Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph, New Gallery, 1891 (1039) lent by Jeffery Whitehead.

Miniature by Samuel Shelley shown to NPG in 1948 and 1962, signed on back and with autograph in the case, reproduced Denis Gray, Spencer Perceval: the Evangelical Prime Minister, 1963, p 141.

Stipple engraving published by James Cundee 31 March 1809 as plate in Trial between the Duke of York & Col Wardle, head and shoulders bareheaded in robes as Chancellor.

A spirited satirical drawing in private collection New York 1977 possibly represents the apotheosis of Spencer Perceval after the disastrous Walcheren expedition of 1809.

Miniature by T. Imhoff (with Mrs Perceval), Sotheby's, 1 August 1974 (128) bought Rawson, identity doubtful.

Masks and busts by Nollekens (see NPG 1657).

Oils by Joseph (NPG 4 and 1031).

Oil by Beechey in University College Hospital, exhibited RA 1813 (198) and engraved in line by Skelton 1813, half-length nearly full-face holding Regency Bill and probably based on Nollekens's bust. Two Beechey portraits were in the Avon Castle (Earl of Egmont) sale Christie's 12 December 1930 (73, 74).

Medal by WT (? W. Turnpenny) was issued by the Government in 1812 - SPENCER PERCEVAL/MURDERED/JOHN BELLINGHAM, profile on obverse (example in British Museum and a variant in Laurence Brown, British Historical Medals, 1980, 729).

A few political satires were issued at the time of the assassination (British Museum Catalogue IX, 1881-5).

Monument with recumbent figure by Westmacott in Westminster Abbey.

Marble bust by Chantrey in Charlton church, Greenwich. Chantrey's statue set up in All Saints Church Northampton in 1818 was moved to the Town Hall in 1866; mezzotint by S. W. Reynolds undated (Alfred Whitman, S. W. Reynolds, 1903, 234). NPG 316a(198) appears to be a drawing for this statue.

Miniature exhibited SKM 1865 (2648) lent by the Misses Perceval (his two youngest daughters), possibly that engraved by Page for The Lady's Magazine, July 1812.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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.