Bella Ibbetson (née Thompson)

Bella Ibbetson (née Thompson), by Julius Caesar Ibbetson, 1803 - NPG 6268 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bella Ibbetson (née Thompson)

by Julius Caesar Ibbetson
oil on panel, 1803
14 in. x 10 3/4 in. (356 mm x 273 mm)
Transferred from National Gallery, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG 6268

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Julius Caesar Ibbotson, a painter famous for his landscapes and rural subjects, was the author of An Accidence, or Gamut of Paintings in Oil and Watercolour (1803), one of the first books written for beginners in art. Ibbetson's first wife Elizabeth died in 1794, leaving three young children. Bella, his second wife and the subject of this portrait, described herself as one 'who, though extremely young, had sufficient discernment to perceive and estimate his talents and virtues; this, united to a feeling of compassion for his misfortunes, induced her to overlook the disparity of their years, and determined her to share in his fate'.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 6267: Julius Caesar Ibbetson (companion portrait)

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Current affairs

The Vice Society is formally established by John Reeves and his associates to campaign against blasphemy and immorality, particularly that perpetrated by Thomas Paine and the Edinburgh Review.

Art and science

Erasmus Darwin's Temple of Nature published posthumously. A scientific treaty in the form of an elaborate couplet poem, its content anticipated some of the evolutionary ideas developed by his grandson, Charles Darwin, fifty years later.
Construction of the Caledonian Canal begins.


War with France resumes, sparking new fears of a cross-channel invasion.
United Irishman, Robert Emmett's attempted uprising in Dublin. Planned to coincide with Napoleon's expected invasion, it aimed to overthrow the English administration but ended in failure. Emmett is hanged along with several other conspirators.

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