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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Richard ('Beau') Nash (1674-1762), Man of fashion

‘Beau Nash'; educated at Carmarthen grammar school and Jesus College, Oxford; after trying the army, entered the Inner Temple, 1693; derived an income from gambling and accepting extravagant wagers; moved, 1705, to Bath; established the Assembly Rooms [1] where he became the arbiter of taste and fashion; by inventing new games evaded the gambling laws of 1740 but, after 1745, his popularity gradually declined; from c.1758 he received a monthly pension of £10 from the corporation; buried in Bath Abbey.

'Nature', wrote Oliver Goldsmith, 'had by no means favoured Mr. Nash for a beau garcon; his person was clumsy, too large and awkward, and his features harsh, strong and peculiarly irregular; yet, even with these disadvantages he ... became a universal admirer, and was universally admired.' [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) See also Ralph Allen; 1st Earl Chatham; George Wade.
2) Dictionary of National Biography, XIV, p 101.

Referencesback to top

Goldsmith 1762
Oliver Goldsmith, Life of Richard Nash, 1762.

Holburne of Menstrie Museum, Catalogue. Part 1 A. Miniatures, 2nd edition, Bath, 1936.


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.