by Joseph Highmore
oil on canvas, 1750
20 3/4 in. x 14 1/2 in. (527 mm x 368 mm)
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This portraitback to top
Joseph Highmore's portrait of the novelist and publisher Samuel Richardson is a well-documented example of personal symbolism in a portrait. It was painted for the author's admirer and correspondent, Lady Dorothy Bradshaigh, who proposed this composition: 'I would choose to have you drawn in your study, a table or desk by you, with pen, ink and paper; one letter just sealed, which I shall fancy is to me.' She left artist and sitter to decide the size, and Richardson added his own tribute to Lady Bradshaigh and her husband by adding a portrait of them in the grounds of their home, Haigh Hall, over the fireplace. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 233
- Riding, Jacqueline, Basic instincts : love, passion and violence in the art of Joseph Highmore, 2017, p. 89 number 78
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 95
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 95
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 521
- 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. 158
Placesback to top
- Place portrayed: United Kingdom: England, London (sitter's study, The Grange, North End Crescent, Fulham, London)
Events of 1750back to top
Current affairsNotorious highwayman James MacLaine is apprehended and hanged at Tyburn, having passed in society as a wealthy gentleman for two years.
Scottish landlords start evicting tenants in the Highland Clearances.
Westminster Bridge is opened, the only fixed crossing of the River Thames between London Bridge and Putney.
Iron Act is passed restricting the manufacture of iron products in the American colonies.
Art and scienceElectrician and experimental philosopher John Canton reads a paper before the Royal Society on a method of making artificial magnets.
Writer Samuel Johnson begins publishing his periodical The Rambler.
Artist Joshua Reynolds travels to Italy, where he remains until 1752.
Establishment of the Jockey Club; a gentleman's club which took over the regulation of British horse racing.
InternationalComposer Johann Sebastian Bach dies in Leipzig. He completes his Mass in B Minor, worked on over many years, shortly before his death.
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