Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

James Stuart (1713-1788), Painter and architect

‘Athenian Stuart’, painter and architect; studied in Italy 1742-51; with Nicholas Revett, travelled in Greece and Turkey 1751-54; they published the Antiquities of Athens 1762 (vol. 2 1789); Dilettanti 1751 and (nominally) Painter to that Society 1763-68; FRS 1758; exhibited Free Society of Artists, London, 1765-83, mostly architectural views; an arbiter of Grecian taste, but his architectural practice was slight; somewhat intemperate in his later years (according to Mrs Montagu).

‘his stature was of the middle size, but athletic; of robust constitution, and a natural courage invincible by terror; and a bold perseverance, unshaken by the most poignant difficulties’ (J. Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century).

‘Mr Stuart, though short, was not a fat, but rather a heavy-looking man, and his face declared him to be fond of what is called friendly society’ (J. T. Smith, 1828).


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.