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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Romney (1734-1802), Portrait painter

Self Portraits
1756-57
Painting, sent to his wife from York. ‘It was hard and laboured, and had all the appearance of a first essay’ (Rev. John Romney, Memoirs of the Life and Works of George Romney ... also some particulars of the life of Peter Romney, his Brother, 1830, p 17).

c.1758
Painting, A Boating Party on Lake Windermere, Timothy Clode Collection (illus. A. Kidson, George Romney, exhibition catalogue, Liverpool, NPG, San Marino, 2002, no.1) including the painter second from the left, whole length wearing a blue suit.

c.1765
Drawing see NPG 2814.

c.1770-75?
Painting, half-length with wig and cloak. Romney sale, 24 May 1894, lot 183, as aged ‘about 35’, but probably older (H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Rainsonné of his Works, 1904, II, p 134, no.4). Engraved W. T. Fry 1822 after a drawing made by John Jackson in 1817 from an original Picture by himself in the Possession of his Son, the Revd John Romney.

c.1778
Watercolour, bust length with hat. Drawn at Eartham (H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Rainsonné of his Works, 1904, II, p 134, no.3). Engraved C. Watson 1809 (W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809, pp 86, f.p.332).

Painting, half length, head on right hand. Private collection (illus. F. Owen, Thomas Greene, Romney's Friend and Patron, Kendal, 1986, cover). Unfinished; the head by Romney, the remainder by Michael Keeling.

c.1784
Painting, see NPG 959.

c.1785?
Painting, vigorous bust-length sketch. Christie’s, 8 June 1995, lot 28. Inscribed verso: Given to his pupil James Rawlinson.

1795?
Painting, half length, with his own thin white hair. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (15.30.37; H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Rainsonné of his Works, 1904, II, p 134, no.2). Probably the ‘head of himself … not entirely finished, without spectacles, though he had been in the habit of using glasses for many years’ painted in 1795 (Rev. John Romney, Memoirs of the Life and Works of George Romney ... also some particulars of the life of Peter Romney, his Brother, 1830, p 239). A version, in which he looks much younger, with Spink 1921.

1796
Two paintings, Flaxman modelling the bust of Hayley (Yale Center for British Art; B1981.25.538) and The Four Friends (Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal), each contain an insignificant head of the artist: ‘from an excess of modesty, or from capricious indolence, [Romney] has so slighted each portrait of himself, in the two pictures ... that both may be considered rather as caricatures, than fair likenesses of the painter’ (W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809, p 254). A version of the first, but without Romney’s head, is NPG 101 (see R. J. B. Walker National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits, I, pp 186-87, II, pl.435).

c.1796
Drawing, bust-length (from a sketchbook in the Huntingdon Art Collections, San Marino, Calif.; illus A. Kidson, George Romney, exhibition catalogue, Liverpool, NPG, San Marino, 2002, no.146). Alex Kidson has plausibly suggested that this 'head of an elderly man with pinched cheeks and staring eyes' may be a self-portrait.

1799
Crayons, wearing spectacles, completed on 6 March. Formerly William Hayley (W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809, pp 293-94, f.p.332; H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Rainsonné of his Works, 1904, II, p 134, under no.3). Engraved C. Watson 1809. Painted at Eartham. Copied by Thomas Hayley, ‘with such variations, as added to the force of the resemblance; for Romney, by representing himself in a very placid humour, had injured the intelligent animation of his own features’ (W. Hayley, Memoirs, 1823, II, pp 451-52).

Portraits by other Artists
c.1790?
Silhouette by Daniel Walker, profile, markedly receding hair with pig-tail. Miss Walker, Tooting, 1864 (tracing by Scharf in NPG copy of W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809).

c.1795-97
Plaster medallion by Thomas Hayley, ‘in the decline of life’. Chichester RO (illus. D. A. Cross, A Striking Likeness, The Life of George Romney, 2000, p 184; see W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809, pp 255, 269 and Memoirs, 1823, II, p 357). Engraved C. Watson 1809 from a drawing by Maria Denman (for W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809).

1798
Miniature by Mary Barret, see NPG 1881.

1799
Painting by M. A. Shee, three-quarter length standing, exhibited RA 1799 (271). Engraved W. Bond 1810; W. C. Edwards (head only). In 1798 Romney had sold to Shee the lease of his house in Cavendish Square (where he had succeeded Francis Cotes; W. Hayley, A Life of George Romney, 1809, p 290); see also NPG 1106.

A bust of Romney by S. N. Babb 1909 is on the south front Victoria and Albert Museum.

Doubtful Portraits
Doubtful self portraits include those in the Uffizi (774A) and the Louvre (RF1095); the former remains unattributed, the latter is perhaps by George Willison.



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.