John Bacon the Elder
- Extended Catalogue Entry
John Bacon the Elder
by William Bate, after Mason Chamberlin
enamel on copper, based on a work of 1785
2 1/4 in. x 1 3/4 in. (58 mm x 46 mm) oval
Transferred from National Gallery, 1994
Sitterback to top
- John Bacon the Elder (1740-1799), Sculptor. Sitter in 9 portraits, Artist associated with 5 portraits.
Artistsback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 23
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 28
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 67 Read entry
The landscape painter Joseph Farington recorded a conversation with John Flaxman about 'famous sculptors', belittling 'the flimsiness of Bacon' (i.e. John Bacon, the subject of NPG 6289); a verdict possibly inspired by professional jealousy in view of the striking solidity of Bacon's sculpture - for instance his monument in Westminster Abbey to William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham. The original portrait by Mason Chamberlin, of which this is a copy, was exhibited at the RA in 1785 and is still in the Bacon family collection. It shows the sitter with an antique bust and sculpting chisels.
Events of 1785back to top
Current affairsGeorge Prince of Wales secretly marries his mistress Maria Fitzherbert in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.
Prime Minister William Pitt introduces a bill proposing parliamentary reform and the abolition of 'rotten boroughs' but is defeated.
Art and scienceWilliam Cowper publishes his best -known poem The Task.
James Boswell publishes The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, narrating his travels with the late writer Samuel Johnson.
Physician and naturalist James Hutton presents his studies of local rocks to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, launching the era of scientific geology.
InternationalWarren Hastings resigns as Governor-General of Bengal and returns to England. His trial begins on charges of corruption in the administration of India.
French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon crosses the Atlantic to sculpt a statue of George Washington.
British government establishes a permanent land force in the Eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.