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Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751), Politician; MP for Wootton Bassett and Berkshire; government official and political philosopher

Tory statesman and writer; an ambitious and eloquent MP 1701-08, 1710-12; secretary at war 1704-08; secretary of state (north) 1710-13 and (south) 1713-14; created Viscount Bolingbroke 1712; envoy to France August-September 1712; entered Jacobite service in France 1715, being attainted and losing his estates and title; created Earl of Bolingbroke (J) 1715; the Pretender’s secretary of state 1715-16; pardoned in 1723, he returned to England in 1725; contributed to The Craftsman, criticising Robert Walpole; settled in France 1735-38; with Pope at Twickenham 1738-39; in France 1739-44 with brief visits to England in 1742 and 1743-44; at Battersea Manor House 1744-51.

He had ‘qualifications that the greatest men might be proud of, and many which the worst would be ashamed of’ (Lord John Hervey).

‘my Lord himself is one of the handsomest personages I ever saw’ (Thomas Hearne).


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, 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.