The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Warren Hastings

Warren Hastings, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1766-1768 - NPG 4445 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

  • Larger Image
  • Image zoom
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Warren Hastings

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1766-1768
49 3/4 in. x 39 3/4 in. (1264 mm x 1010 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1965
Primary Collection
NPG 4445

On display in Room 14 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • Warren Hastings (1732-1818), Governor-General of India. Sitter associated with 46 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.

This portraitback to top

As Governor of India, Warren Hastings completed the transformation of the East India Company into a great military and naval power. An admirer of Indian culture, he co-operated where possible with native rulers but sometimes used methods more easily defended locally than in Whitehall. His impeachment for corruption in 1788 resulted in acquittal in 1795. He is seen in this magnificent portrait by Reynolds with a pile of papers, a pot of ink with a quill and a seal with Persian script. There was a vogue at this time amongst Englishmen for seals giving their name in Persian; this particular seal however has proved difficult to decipher. Acquired by H.M. Governent and allocated to the Gallery, 1965.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Audio Guide
  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Bayly, Christopher, The Raj: India and the British 1600-1947, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 19 October 1990 - 17 March 1991), p. 114
  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 239
  • Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 125
  • Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 135
  • Ross, Josephine, Jane Austen and her World, 2017, p. 29
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 101
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 101 Read entry

    Warren Hastings, educated as a King's Scholar at Westminster, was sent out to India by his guardian as an administrator. In 1764 he returned to England with plans for the establishment of the East India College at Haileybury and made friends with Dr Johnson. On 9 September 1768, shortly before his return to Madras, he paid 70 guineas for his portrait by Reynolds. It shows him as a young man, highly intelligent, well dressed, socially and intellectually ambitious, and not without a touch of conceit. Hastings subsequently became Governor of Bengal and Governor-General of India, but was impeached on the grounds of corruption in 1787, and only cleared in 1795 after a trial that cost him £70,000.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 286

Events of 1766back to top

Current affairs

Charles Edward Stuart ('Bonnie Prince Charlie') becomes the new Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain and figurehead for Jacobitism on the death of his father James Stuart, Pretender since 1701.
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham is dismissed as Prime Minister and succeeded by William Pitt the Elder.
Stamp Act, passed the previous year, is repealed.

Art and science

Swiss painter Angelica Kauffmann settles in London.
Oliver Goldsmith publishes his novel The Vicar of Wakefield.
Chemist Henry Cavendish publishes his paper 'On Factitious Airs' which is generally credited with showing the discovery of hydrogen.
First golf club in England opens at Blackheath in Kent.
Christie's auction house is founded in London.

International

Navigator and Royal Navy officer John Byron returns to England after his circumnavigation of the globe; the first to be completed in under two years. He takes possession of the Falkland Islands on behalf of Britain during his voyage.
German writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing publishes his important work of literary criticism Laokoon; An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.