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Regency Portraits Catalogue

William Pitt (1759-1806), Prime Minister

The following list is an abbreviated and revised form of Sir George Scharf's Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, published in 1886 but still a model of its kind. It does not include the innumerable political satires to be found in the British Museum Catalogues.

1776
Oil attributed to Reynolds, identity doubtful, sold New York 1939 (Algernon Graves & W. V. Cronin, History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, XI, p 754).

Drawing by Rev Thomas Kerrich, as a Cambridge undergraduate (Daphne Foskett, Dictionary of British Miniature Painters, 1972, 496, plate 196).

1779
Drawing by Copley at Chevening, engraved by Bartolozzi 1789 as 'First Lord of the Treasury' (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 1, 30, 160).

1780
Oil by Copley in the Tate Gallery (100), 'Death of the Earl of Chatham' in which Chatham's 3 sons are conspicuous figures, William with hands raised, line engraving by Sherwin c.1781 and Bartolozzi 1791 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 2, 3, 34).

1781
Line engraving published 1 September 1781 by J. Walker, lettered: Honble Wm Pitt Esqr, possibly from a miniature painted to celebrate his election as MP in January (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 4).

1782
Line engraving published in London Magazine, December 1782 as 'Chancellor of the Exchequer' (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 5).

c.1782
Drawing by Sayer probably of 1782, lithographed 1835 by Lane for Mr T. Turner, Lane Account Books, I, p 49 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 6).

1783
Oil by Romney ? at Bayham Abbey, begun in 1783 but unfinished, mezzotint by Jones 1789 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 7, 25, and John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 63); Tate Gallery no.2280 is unrelated and probably does not represent Pitt.

Stipple engraving published 9 July 1783 by E. Hedges (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 8).

Medallion by Hancock, 'William Pitt appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer December 1783', profile to left (George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 9).

1784
Line engraving in The European Magazine, January 1784, 'The Rt Hon WILLIAM PITT, Chancellor of the Exchequer' (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 10).

Drawing by Sayer in House of Commons, 'Cicero in Catalinam', etched by Sayer and published 17 March 1785 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 11).

1785
Coloured etching 'Honest Billy' published Fores 18 February 1785, probably copied by Lawrence c.1790 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 12 and British Museum, 6778).

c.1785
Wedgwood medallion in Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, head only in profile to right (Robin Reilly & George Savage, Wedgwood: the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 276).

1787
Oil by Gainsborough begun in 1787 and possibly finished by Dupont, engraved by Sherwin 1789. About 20 versions exist, the original being uncertain but possibly that at Chevening with another good copy at Kenwood; other good copies are Apsley House, Boconnoc, Cirencester Park, Glasgow Burrell collection, Goodwood, Leeds and Lincoln's Inn (George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 15-22 and E. K. Waterhouse in Walpole Society Journal, XXXIII, pp 85-6). The Mellon Collection head and shoulders, formerly belonging to Lord Amherst, is reproduced in colour (detail only) in John Ehrman, The Younger Pitt, I, frontispiece.

c.1787
Wedgwood high-relief bust at Barlaston, probably by Flaxman but also attributed to Tassie and
Lochée (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 13, Wedgwood Catalogue, 1969, p 27, Robin Reilly & George Savage, Wedgwood: the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 276).

1788-9
Drawing by Gillray (NPG 135a) (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 23-4).

1789-90
Drawing by Cruikshank (NPG 2103b).

1789
Caricature etching by ? Sayer, 'Regency Restrictions' published Fores 1789, example in British Museum (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 28).

Mezzotint by and after Kingsbury published Fores 1789, example in British Museum (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 29 and John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 12).

Medalet signed and dated: G.I. 1789, The Right Honble William Pitt profile to right (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 31); another anon, of Thurlow and Pitt, examples in British Museum.

1790
Oil by Dupont exhibited RA 1790 (251). Probably most of the so-called Gainsborough Pitts are copies by his nephew Dupont whose whole-length paid for in 1796 is still at Trinity House, engraved by Bartolozzi 1796; a half-length in oval of 1792 was engraved in mezzotint by Earlom 1806 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 35-6 and John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 32).

Drawing by W. H. Brown 'from life', engraved by Warren for The Senator 1790, oval head and shoulders to left in high collar and ruffles.

c.1790
Miniature by Ozias Humphry known from Greatbach's engraving in Wraxall's Memoirs, 1836 in which he wears a similar style of high 'Revolution' collar as in Brown's drawing in The Senator, 1790.

1791
Drawing by Lawrence in the Pitt Club, Cambridge, said to have been done at Stanmore Priory; soft-ground etching by F. C. Lewis c.1830 (Kenneth Garlick, ‘Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’ in Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, 1964, p 240).

1792
Etching by Gillray, 'The Bottomless Pitt'.

1793-4
'The House of Commons 1793-4' by K. A. Hickel (NPG 745).

1793
Medallion by Tassie, probably modelled earlier, was used as a badge for the London Pitt Club founded 1793, reproduced Country Life, May 1943, p 932.

1794
Drawing by De Koster known from Keating's mezzotint 1794 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 40-1 and John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 9).

Small stipple engraving 'pubd by Chapman & Co. 161 Fleet Street, March 1794' with coat of arms and title: 'Right Hon. William Pitt' (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 42).

Copper 'Cinque Ports' token, profile to right incised: The Rt Hon W. Pitt, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports … 1794 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 44).

1796
Drawing by W. H. Brown engraved Ridley for Cormick's Continuation to Smollett's History, 13 February 1796.

1797
Oil by W. Miller known from Murphy's three-quarter-length mezzotint 1797 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 49 and John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 12); an oval head and shoulders, not listed in British Museum or John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits is lettered: W. Miller pinxit/ST.G.N.I. Murphy à London (impression in NPG Reference Collection).

Caricature etching by Woodward, 'An Enquiry concerning the Clock Tax' published Fores 1797 (examples in British Museum and V&A Museum).

Etching by Gillray, 'The Giant Factotum'.

1798
Etching by Kay 'The Modern Cain's Lament', satire on Pitt's reliance on Dundas against French invasion (BM 9166).

Coloured etching by Cruikshank 'The Royal Soldier', a companion to a similar print of Fox as 'The Republican Soldier', published Fores 10-13 May 1798 (BM 9203-4).

1799
Oil by Owen in Clumber sale Christie's 31 March 1939 (23) and again Sotheby's 18 December 1946 (31), mezzotint by Hodges 1799, line by Brome 1799, Bartolozzi 1806, and others; a variant with Diogenes as supporter was engraved by Swaine and published Orme 1811.

Drawing by De Koster 'exhibited at the London Tavern August 14th 1799', known from a large stipple published by Brydon 1799 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 55-6).

Oil by Sir Robert Ker Porter, whole-length holding roll 'Supplies & Means for 1799', known from S. W. Reynolds's mezzotint 1799 (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 58-9 and Alfred Whitman, S. W. Reynolds, 1903, 239).

Medal by J. G. Hancock, profile to left (example in British Museum).

1800-1
Pencil drawing by Edridge with sittings mentioned in Diary of Joseph Farington, 5 April 1801 but begun the September before for Lord Essex, exhibited RA 1801 (3); a copy signed and dated 1802 is in a private collection Scotland; Cardon's stipple engraving was published by Edridge himself 1804. Charles Long believed it to be the best likeness of Pitt (Diary of Joseph Farington, 17 June 1806).

1800
Bust by L. Gahagan exhibited RA 1800 (1092), possibly that engraved by Tomkins from a drawing 'from the Original Bust by Burney' published W. B. Daniel 10 October 1806.

c.1800
Miniature by Joseph Daniell, signed and dated 1800 but identity doubtful, reproduced Foskett, Collecting Miniatures, 1979, p 250.

Watercolour drawing by Dighton in House of Commons, head and shoulders profile to left in blue coat.

1802
Subscriptions for a statue were begun in 1802 but called off by Pitt himself (Annual Register, 1802, p 184).

c.1803
Wax relief by Percy exhibited RA 1803 (1027) - a frame containing portraits of Fox, Pitt, Burdett, Tooke and Stanhope; copies or variants are in Brighton Art Gallery, Madame Tussaud's, V&A Museum (Mary Bate collection).

1804
Drawing by Orme based on Owen's oil of 1799, engraved by Godby 1804.

1805
Oils by Hoppner (see NPG 697).

Posthumous
1806
Death-mask taken by Nollekens and subsequent busts (see NPG 120).

Wax profiles by Andras, Rouw and silhouettes by Field (see NPG 120 above).

1807-8
Oil by Lawrence in Royal Collection (Windsor Castle), three-quarter-length based on 'Mr Angerstein's Bust of him by Nollekins & from his remembrance of Mr Pitt' (Sir Oliver Millar, The Later Georgian Portraits in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1969, 908 and plate 190); a copy is at Dalmeny. Lawrence was disappointed at the indifferent quality of Turner's mezzotint (Diary of Joseph Farington, 24 March 1808).

1813
Monuments by Bubb for the Guildhall and Westmacott for Westminster Abbey were both
set up in 1813.

Five sculptors were applied to by the University of Cambridge for a statue - Bacon, Flaxman, Garrard, Nollekens and Westmacott - and four models exhibited there in 1807; Nollekens's was accepted for £3000 and set up in the Senate House in 1812; a white marble variant incised: Nollekens Ft 1812 is in the Fitzwilliam Museum together with a cast possibly from the original model, and a marble bust signed and dated: Nollekens ft/1806; a cast of Garrard's bust is also in the Fitzwilliam (Goodison, Cambridge Portraits, 1955, pp 33-4, 101-2); a marble bust in the British Museum, incised: J. BACON, Junr. 1812, was destroyed by enemy action 1941.

1808-57
Other statues are by Flaxman in Glasgow 1808, Westmacott in Pembroke College, Cambridge 1819, Chantrey in Hanover Square London 1831 and in Edinburgh 1833, and by MacDowell in Palace of Westminster 1857. Chantrey's marble bust in Pembroke College is signed and dated 1833. A statuette in tail-coat and breeches based on Westmacott's, was published by Hardenberg 1820.

A Minton biscuit figure, seated cross-legged in a Regency armchair, was at Sotheby's 26 January 1971 (27) catalogued as Peel; Scharf mentions one by Cocker of Derby (Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of All Known Portraits of William Pitt, 1886, 154).



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.