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Joseph Nollekens

3 of 14 portraits of Joseph Nollekens

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Joseph Nollekens

by Lemuel Francis Abbott
oil on canvas, circa 1797
30 3/8 in. x 25 in. (771 mm x 635 mm)
Given by Henry Labouchere, 1858
Primary Collection
NPG 30

On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823), Sculptor. Sitter in 14 portraits, Artist or producer associated with 20 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Lemuel Francis Abbott (circa 1760-1802), Portrait painter. Artist or producer associated with 78 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

In the last decades of the eighteenth century menswear was becoming more understated in both colour and materials. For everyday coats and breeches, fine wool began to replace silk and muted colours became the norm. A patterned waistcoat was often the new focus of attention. Striped, double-breasted waistcoats like that worn by the sculptor Joseph Nollekens in this portrait were particularly popular in the 1780s and 1790s. Nollekens does not wear a wig, though he may have powdered his own hair for which he would have had to pay dearly following the imposition of a powder tax in 1795. Charles James Fox also wears his own hair in the bust Nollekens works on.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D19817: Joseph Nollekens with a bust of Charles James Fox (source portrait)
  • NPG D38983: Joseph Nollekens with a bust of Charles James Fox (source portrait)
  • NPG D14363: Joseph Nollekens with a bust of Charles James Fox (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1797back to top

Current affairs

The Anti-Jacobin periodical makes its debut followed by The Anti-Jacobin Review the year after. Edited by William Gifford, it acted as a Tory mouthpiece against the 'New Morality' associated with republicanism.
Bank crisis results in the temporary suspension of payments by the Bank of England leading to a nationwide currency shortage.

Art and science

Robert Southey, later Poet Laureate, publishes his collected Poems, exploring contemporary interest in mythology and non-European cultures.
Ann Radcliffe publishes her popular gothic novel The Italian. One of the most imaginative novelists of the period, she helped introduce readers to the romantic sense of the supernatural.


Battle of Cape St Vincent. Admiral John Jervis leads the fleet which defeat the Spanish.
Failure of a small French invasion in Pembrokeshire.
Naval mutinies at Spithead and Nore.
Attack on the Canary Islands in which Rear-Admiral Nelson loses an arm.

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