Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Romney (1734-1802), Portrait painter

Painter; b. Beckside, Cumbria; exhibited Free Society of Artists, London, 1763-69 and Society of Artists, London, 1770-72; travelled in France 1764 with Thomas Greene and in Italy 1773-75; retired to Kendal in 1799, when mentally unstable.

‘shy, private, studious and contemplative; conscious of all the disadvantages of a very stinted education; of a habit naturally hypochondriac. With aspen nerves, that every breath could ruffle’ (Richard Cumberland, 1807).

‘The person of Romney was rather tall, his features were broad and strong, his hair was dark, his eyes indicated much vigour, and still more acuteness of mind ... His feelings were perilously acute. They made him a man of many frailties, but the primary characteristic of his nature was that true christian charity, which more than compensates for manifold imperfections’ (William Hayley, 1809).

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.