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Sir George Hayter

2 of 16 portraits of Sir George Hayter

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Sir George Hayter

by Sir George Hayter
oil on panel, 1820
20 1/4 in. x 20 1/2 in. (514 mm x 521 mm)
Given by the Art Fund, 1941
Primary Collection
NPG 3104

Sitterback to top

  • Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), Portrait and history painter; son of Charles Hayter. Sitter associated with 16 portraits, Artist associated with 198 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), Portrait and history painter; son of Charles Hayter. Artist associated with 198 portraits, Sitter associated with 16 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 219
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 291
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 70, 168 Read entry

    Carved and gilt oak, mitred and keyed, the rebate enlarged at left and top and bottom; the veining of the sweeps and other fine surface details tooled in a thick coat of gesso in the traditional manner; heavily regilt and varnished but traces of water gilding are visible over a black bole, e.g. on the wavy high point of the sight edge. There are three holes vertically aligned in the back of the frame at top centre, perhaps originally used to hang the picture. 5 1⁄ 4 inches wide.

    This fantastically encrusted carved French rococo frame is representative of the fashion in the Regency period for framing old masters and other pictures in elaborate French eighteenth-century frames. It is very similar to the more finely carved frame on Denys Calvaert's Mystic Marriage of St Catherine at Stourhead in Wiltshire, a French Louis XV frame of the 1740s or 1750s.1 Like other French frames of the period it is made of oak. The arched top is of a sort fashionable in the eighteenth century for framing Dutch old masters.2

    George Hayter painted this self portrait on an old marbled board. The portrait at left and right does not cover the whole board but only extends as far as the frame sight edge, suggesting that Hayter may have painted it with this frame in mind. The use of such an extraordinary frame for an artist's self-portrait indicates that Hayter was something of a francophile. He had visited Paris in 1815 and was to work there for some years in the late 1820s.

    1 Reproduced in Country Life, vol.CLXXXVIII, 8 September 1994, p 66, fig.4.

    2 I owe this observation to Alastair Laing.

Events of 1820back to top

Current affairs

George III dies at Windsor Castle on 29 January and George IV ascends to the throne.
'Trial of Queen Caroline' in the House of Lords; Parliament drops the Bill which was to legitimise a divorce between Caroline and George IV.
Cato Street Conspiracy to assassinate the cabinet discovered. Arthur Thistlewood and fellow conspirators are hung.

Art and science

Sir Thomas Lawrence becomes President of the Royal Academy.
Astronomical Society is set up by John Herschel and Charles Babbage.
First iron steamship is launched.


Actor, Edmund Kean goes on a successful tour of America after making his name at the Drury Lane Theatre.
Revolutions begin in Spain, Portugal and Naples.
The famous ancient Greek statue of the Venus de Milo is rediscovered on the Island of Melos and purchased by the Louvre in Paris.

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