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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), Writer and divine; author of 'Tristram Shandy'

Author and divine; son of army lieutenant Roger Sterne; [1] attended Jesus College, Cambridge; held the living of Sutton, Yorks, and other church preferments, 1738-59, including prebendary of York Cathedral; married, 1741, Elizabeth Lumley [2] who suffered bouts of insanity; Tristram Shandy (vols I and II) published in York 1759 and London, 1760; carried on flirtation and correspondence, 1759, with Mlle Fourmantelle ('dear, dear Kitty'); visited London and well received in society; in the same year made perpetual curate of Coxwold naming his house there Shandy Hall; visited France, 1762-64; in England 1767, met and corresponded with Mrs Eliza Draper, the 'Bramine' [3] of Journal to Eliza; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, published 1768; died insolvent, of pleurisy, his wife and daughter aided through subscriptions collected by his life-long friend John Hall-Stevenson and by further publication of his sermons, 1769, and Letters of Yorick to Eliza, 1775.
Describing himself at work 'this 12th day of August 1766', Sterne writes: 'And here am I sitting ... in a purple jerkin and yellow pair of slippers, without either wig or cap on.' [4]

Footnotesback to top

1) The original of 'Uncle Toby'.
2) His courtship letters, 1739-46, used for first time ‘sentimental' to denote the tender emotions, Dictionary of National Biography, XVIII, p 1088.
3) An allusion to her Indian connections; MS of Journal in British Museum.
4) Letters of Laurence Sterne, ed. L. P. Curtis, 1935, p 285, note 2, citing Tristram Shandy, III, p 154.

Referencesback to top

Catalogue of Pictures Belonging to the Marquess of Lansdowne, 1897.

Cotton 1856
W. Cotton, Sir Joshua Reynolds and his Works, ed. J. Burnet, 1856.

Cross 1909
W. L. Cross, The Life and Times of Laurence Sterne, New York, 1909.

Curtis (ed.) 1935
Letters of Laurence Sterne, ed. L. P. Curtis, 1935.

Davies 1957
Sir Martin Davies, French School (National Gallery Catalogues), 2nd edition, 1957.

Drawings by Henry Bone, MS, working drawings, NPG library.

Gruyer 1902
F. A. Gruyer, Chantilly: Les Portraits de Carmontelle, 1902.

Hayley 1809
W. Hayley, Life of George Romney, 1809.

Lee 1966
G. L. Lee, The Story of the Bosanquets, 1966.

Letters of the late Rev. Mr. Laurence Sterne, new edition, 1776.

Sichel 1910
W. Sichel, Sterne, A Study, 1910 (annotated copy in NPG library).

Smith 1920
J. T. Smith, Nollekens and his Times, ed. W. Whitten, 1920.

Watson 1940
F. J. B. Watson, Thomas Patch (1725-1782), Walpole Society, XXVIII, 1940.


Only works cited in the text are mentioned here, but among the interesting accounts may be cited:

Jameson 1844
Mrs Jameson, Private Galleries, 1844, p 330.

Leslie and Taylor 1865
C. R. Leslie and T. Taylor, Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1865, I, pp 192-93.

Whitley 1928
William Whitley, Artists and Their Friends in England 1700-1799, 1928, I, p 175.


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.