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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Henry Pelham (1695?-1754), Prime Minister

No references to portraits are known before 1743, the year Pelham first held office as chancellor. A head and shoulders in armour was engraved by W. Gardiner, 1802, From an Original in the Possession of Cresset Pelham Esqr. and a portrait was listed at Raynham Hall in 1914, [1] as by Kneller. A conversation piece called Sir Oswald Mosley and his secretary but clearly representing the sitter and John Roberts, at Christie's, 31 May 1935, lot 105, has a background showing the Waynflete Tower at Esher Park, the seat bought by Pelham, 1729, and improved by William Kent. [2] Although near the Shackleton in date, the handling is reminiscent of Eccardt. A standing half length at Downing Street, the left hand tucked inside his coat, has been attributed both to Vanloo and to Hoare but the treatment of the face, particularly the eyebrows, is not consistent with the usual interpretation by the latter and it is not equal to Vanloo who had, in any event, left England before Pelham became chancellor. The portrait might prove to be by Eccardt.
A wax medallion by Isaac Gosset is listed among family portraits formerly at Clumber [3] and others were included in the inventory, March 1754, of ‘contents of the household of Henry Pelham, late of Arlington Street'; [4] 'Mr Pelham in Robes', in the drawing room, appeared in the list of pictures at Esher Place compiled 23 July 1803 'from a M.S. at Halswell, Mr Kemeys Tynte'. [5]

1) Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, edited E. Farrer [1927], II, p 226.
2) Information from D. T. Piper who lived at the house, c.1950.
3) W. J. Hipkin, Descriptive Catalogue ... Clumber, 1923, p 125 (373).
4) GLC archives, ref. BRA 437/10.
5) Copy in NPG library.


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.