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Regency Portraits Catalogue

William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Philanthropist and reformer

Wilberforce House, Hull, his birthplace, contains portraits, documents and relics relating to slavery, catalogue by T. Sheppard (1927).

1770
Oil by Russell (NPG 759).

c.1783-4
Oil attributed to Wright of Derby in private collection, Northumberland, half-length in a grey coat inscribed: J. W. pinxt and believed to be c.1783-4, lent to Wright of Derby exhibition, Derby 1934 (24) by Stephen Winkworth and reproduced in catalogue plate X and Antique Collector September-October 1942; identity doubtful and not admitted by Benedict Nicolson as an authentic Wright.

1790
Oil by John Rising in a private collection formerly on loan to Montacute House, half-length seated with quill-pen, commissioned by Lord Muncaster, exhibited RA 1790 (98) and mezzotint by C. H. Hodges 1792; a drawing and oil versions are in private collections Yorkshire and London and an oil copy in Wilberforce House (reproduced John Pollock, Wilberforce, 1977, frontispiece in colour). A reduced stipple engraving illustrates Life of William Wilberforce, I, frontispiece.

c.1790
Ink and grey wash drawing by Benjamin West, whole-length addressing an abolitionist meeting, Sotheby's 21 November 1968 (14).

1792
Drawing by J. Davies, head and shoulders as an elegant young man in loose coat and shirt-frill, known from a stipple engraving published by I. Read 28 April 1792, lettered with a couplet from Cowper: 'Nature imprints upon whate'er we see/That has a heart & life in it - Be free'.

1793-4
'The House of Commons 1793-4' by K. A. Hickel (NPG 745). An oil by Hickel in private collection Yorkshire, head and shoulders in a painted oval signed and dated 1794, exhibited 'East Yorkshire Portraits' Hull 1959 (nn), related to NPG 745.

1795
Satirical etching by James Sayers, 'The Weather Cock of St Stephen's', 14 April 1795, one of many anti-Jacobin satires of the period.

1796
Satirical etching attributed to Gillray, 'Philanthropic Consolations After the Loss of the Slave-Bill', 4 April 1796, Wilberforce and Bishop Horsley rollicking indecorously with two negresses (British Museum Satire 8793).

1797
Satirical etching by Gillray, 'The Giant-Factotum Amusing Himself', 25 January 1797.

c.1800
Crayon drawing by W. Lane in Wilberforce House (101).

1801
Oils and pastel by John Russell, see NPG 759.

Satirical etching by Charles Williams, 'The Child and Champion of Jacobinism', 26 October 1801 (British Museum Satire 9733).

1807-8
Medals by unknown artist, 'THE HERO OF FREEDOM', and by T. Webb, 'THE FRIEND OF AFRICA' (Laurence Brown, British Historical Medals, 1980, 626-7). A portrait by Peter Rouw was exhibited RA 1808 'intended for a medal now executing in commemoration of the abolition of the slave trade'.

1809
Wax profile by Catherine Andras at Madame Tussaud's, profile to left, also engraved by W. Worthington for R. Bowyer, 1 January 1810.

Drawing by Edridge mentioned by Farington in his Diary, 24 June 1809: 'the likeness was thought excellent', and known from Vendramini's stipple vignette 27 October 1809 in Cadell's Contemporary Portraits, II, p 147. A drawing 'the first sketch for the engraving' was Sotheby's (Francis Wellesley sale) 29 June 1920 (265).

1810
Model for a bust by G. Garrard exhibited RA 1810 (897); two busts, unsigned and undated are in Wilberforce House (Sheppard 1927, 84).

c.1815
Satirical drawing by John Nixon at Christie's (French Hospital of the Providence) 22 November 1974 rugged profile to right.

1816-19
Oil by J. Slater in Wilberforce House, exhibited RA 1816 (432) and engraved by E. Scriven in stipple April 1816, another RA 1819 (676), mezzotint by W. Say 18 April 1820; also engraved later by C. E. Wagstaff and W. & F. Holl from a variant drawing by J. Stewart without acknowledgement to Slater.

c.1819
Drawings by W. M. Craig engraved Thomson 1819, see The Times, 23 July 1983.

c.1820
Silhouette by unknown artist in NPG library (Memoirs of Samuel Tuke, 1860, II, p 265).

1828
Oil by Lawrence and copies by Richmond, see NPG 3.

1832-3
Watercolour drawing by Richmond (NPG 4997).

1833
Marble busts by Samuel Joseph in 10 Downing Street, signed and dated 1833 (GAC 2036) and York City Art Gallery; a bust was exhibited RA 1834 (1072). The statue by Joseph in Westminster Abbey, exhibited RA 1840 (1100) and set up c.1840, was deplored by Harford as 'giving undue prominence to the singularity of his figure in later years' (John Harford, Recollections of William Wilberforce, 1864, p 257).

1834
Wax bust (damaged) by C. A. Rivers published 1834 was at Christie's 15 October 1981 (16).

1836-83
Statue by Clarke on a 90-foot Doric column in Wilberforce Drive, Hull, was set up in 1836; a statue by Keyworth outside Wilberforce House was set up in 1883 (reproduced Sheppard 1927, 13).

c.1850
Derby biscuit statuettes by George Cocker in Wilberforce House (640) and York City Art Gallery.

1956
Oil by Edmund Fearnley-Whittingstall in Bible Society, London - composite portrait.

Undated and doubtful portraits
Oil by Hoppner c.1800 reproduced in Burlington Magazine, V, December 1929 ad. supp. plate 24) and with Vicars 1936, identity doubtful.

Oil by Alexander Mosses offered to NPG 1969, identity doubtful.

Oil by Northcote signed and dated 1803, Sotheby's 17 November 1971 (70) and again 18 December 1974 (139), identity doubtful and not listed in Northcote's Register.

Oil by Romney at Christie's 28 June 1890 (107) bought Gooden, identity doubtful and no comment in Scharf's copy of catalogue.



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.