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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Wolcot (1738-1819), 'Peter Pindar'; physician and satirist

Portraits by Opie
At the age of fifteen Opie was adopted by Wolcot, who brought him to London in 1781 and carefully promoted his career; ‘Wolcot is always with him and is as conceited, vulgar and jawing as ever’ Northcote wryly observed in 1782; their business partnership was dissolved in 1783, but they remained friends until 1798 when Opie’s second wife, the writer Amelia Alderson, forbade him their house.

c.1780
Drawing, bust length, with wig. Formerly the Rev J. H. de Courcelles (illus. A. Earland, Opie and his CIrcle, 1911, f.p.10).

Painting by John Opie, see NPG 830.

1784
Painting, bust length. Exhibited Opie, Arts Council, 1962 (26) lent Sir John Seale (cf. J. J. Rogers, John Opie and his Works, 1878, p 181).

c.1786
Painting, half length with wig. Royal Institute of Cornwall, Truro. Engraved anon. 1794; J. Chapman 1797 (oval, for Pindar’s Works).

Painting, bust-length profile with wig. Exhibited Opie, Arts Council, 1963 (40) lent Humphrey Woollcombe. Version sold Sotheby’s, 4 July 2001, lot 45, from Lord De Dunstanville’s collection (A. Earland, Opie and his Circle, 1911, p 324); a similar portrait listed with F. W. Bond in 1878 (J. J. Rogers, John Opie and his Works, 1878, p 181; A. Earland, Opie and his CIrcle, 1911, p 324).

1787
Painting, half length with wig. Auckland Art Gallery (illus. Auckland Quarterly, spring 1956, p 5). Engraved J. Corner 1787 (European Mag.). Enamel copy 1801 by P. J. Bone, National Gallery of Ireland (3580).

Painting, half-length seated with wig, right hand on chin. Exhibited Second special exhibition of National Portraits (William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington, 1867 (809) lent J. Stirling Taylor. Engraved C. H. Hodges 1787.

c.1787
Painting, half length with wig, left hand on chin. Christie’s, 2 May 1975, lot 164.

1792
Painting, half-length oval, engraved W. Ridley 1792 (General Mag. & Impartial Rev.).

1798
Painting, half length, dark hair, engraved K. Mackenzie 1798 & 1802.

after 1800
Painting, bust-length profile, balding. C. J. Sawyer in 1937 (from the Heugh collection, sold Christie’s, 13 December 1935, lot 139).

after 1800
Painting, half length, white balding hair. Sotheby’s, 28 November 1968, lot 165. Probably correctly identified.

Untraced portraits by Opie with Sir Stafford Northcote (J. J. Rogers, John Opie and his Works 1878, p 237).

Portraits by other Artists
1783
Crayon miniature by Ozias Humphry, exhibited SKM 1865 (1557) lent J. H. Anderdon.

1789
Drawing by Samuel Collings, bust-length oval with wig, etched by J. Barlow 1789.

1793
Enamel by Henry Bone, bust-length oval, with wig. Sotheby’s, 2 June 1992, lot 686. Presumably the miniature exhibited RA 1794 (472), for which a preliminary drawing dated 1793 is in the NPG Bone albums (R. Walker, 'Henry Bone's Pencil Drawings in the National Portrait Gallery', Wal. Soc., LXI, 1999, no.558); a second dated enamel in the Victoria and Albert Museum (706.1904).

Drawing by George Dance, profile bust, dated 7 July 1793. British Museum (1898.07.12.35). Engraved W. Daniell (A Collection of Portraits sketched from the Life since the Year 1973 by George Dance Esqr. R.A. and engraved in imitation of the Original Drawings by William Daniell, A.R.A., 2 vols, 1814). A second drawing exhibited Sublime and Beautiful, Sabin, 1973 (33), illus. pl.2.

1795
Painting by J. Barry, half-length oval, engraved P. Roberts 1795.

1800
Painting by Henry Ashby, exhibited RA 1800 (107).

1812
Painting by J. R. Smith, half length, dark hair, engraved C. Heath 1812, Carver 1820, W. Holl 1820, C. T. Warren, H. R. Cook (as T. Uwins del ) and Halpen.

1817
Miniature by W. S. Lethbridge, see NPG 156.

1819
Drawing by John Taylor, half-length profile with a turban, engraved anon a short time previous to his decease (Lady’s Mag.).

Doubtful Portraits
Miniature by William Birch, sold Christie’s, 20 February 1979, lot 49; the portrait of ‘Mr Wolcot’ by George Romney, 1779-81 (H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Rainsonné of his Works, 1904, II, p 174) is unlikely to be Pindar at that time.



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.