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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Stephen Hales (1677-1761), Natural philosopher, chemist and inventor

The only single portrait recorded, in addition to the monument by Joseph Wilton placed in Westminster Abbey by the Dowager Princess of Wales, [1] is a poor etching (F. O'Donoghue and Sir Henry M. Hake, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits ... in the British Museum, 1908-25, 3) after a bust, engraver and sculptor unknown. Hales appears, however, in two groups. In William Verelst's painting 'Trustees of the Colony of Georgia receiving the Indians', also called 'The Georgia Council', formerly Shaftesbury collection and now in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, he is the figure ('The Revd Dr Hale') in bands and cassock standing, lower left, with his hand on the back of the chair. A description on the contemporary frame reads: 'A Representation of the Audience given by the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia in America, to Tomo Chachi Mico of Yamacran and his Indians on the 3rd day of July in the Year of Our Lord 1734.’ [2] There follow the names of the twenty-four 'Common Councilmen of the said Trustees ... All portraits: Gift of Trustees to 4th Earl of Shaftesbury' (see 1st Earl of Egmont, All Known Portraits). A numbered key made by the Earl of Shaftesbury before the picture left St Giles, c.1925, corresponds with numbers on the sleeve or cuff of each sitter. [3] In the second group, James Barry's large painting produced 1777-81, Hales is shown, posthumously, among members of the Royal Society of Arts. [4]
A portrait described as Hales by Knapton, sold by Captain Eric C. Palmer, Christie's, 24 May 1957, lot 33, now at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is of about 1720 on costume and near Richard Van Bleeck in style. On comparison with authentic portraits, it seems unlikely to represent the sitter.

1) K. A. Esdaile, English Church Monuments 1510 to 1842, 1946, pp 65, 69, pl.126.
2) A. E. Clark-Kennedy, Stephen Hales, 1929, p 170; correspondence with Winterthur Museum, 1972.
3) The Works of James Barry Esq., Historical Painter, 1809, II, p 341.
4) H. T. Wood, A Note on the Pictures by James Barry in the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts, 1880, pp 10-11.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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.