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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

James Waldegrave, 1st Earl Waldegrave (1685-1741), Diplomat

Musgrave records seeing 'Sev pict[ures] by Rigaud' at Navestock, the family's Essex seat, in 1785. [1] Waldegrave commissioned work from Rigaud, [2] but if he sat no canvas is now known. Three portraits at Chewton House are known as our sitter: a miniature of c.1715 [3] by an unknown hand and two three-quarter lengths. That by Kneller (c.1720) is wrongly inscribed as Henry last Baron Waldegrave, appointed Comptroller of the Household in 1685. The white wand shown would be appropriate to that office, but the dress and apparent age rule out the first Baron who died in 1689. Our sitter, the second Baron, appointed lord of the bedchamber (1723 to death), may be intended. However, while the white wands carried by high officials of the Household were not specifically restricted to certain members in Stuart times, at a later date they are identified only with the Lord Chamberlain (who also carries a key), the Vice Chamberlain, the Lord Steward, the Treasurer, and the Comptroller. It is rather improbable that at this date a lord of the bedchamber would be so depicted.

The other canvas, while conceivably attributable to Rigaud, who died in Paris in 1743, is much closer to J. B. Vanloo. If by the latter it would probably have been painted after the sitter's return to London in the autumn of 1740.

1) British Museum Add. MS 6391, f.45.
2) Waldegrave MS, Chewton House.
3) Perhaps the miniature which was bought in at the Strawberry Hill sale, 1842, 18th day, lot 162.

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.