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John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent

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John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent

by Francis Cotes
oil on canvas, 1769
49 1/2 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1257 mm x 1003 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 1949
Primary Collection
NPG 2026

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Francis Cotes (1726-1770), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 89 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Seen here in the uniform of a post captain: a blue jacket with gold braid and white facings and a white waistcoat and neckcloth.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 544
  • 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. 94, 163 Read entry

    Carved and gilt pine, mitred and keyed, the sight edge moulding with cross banding, the mitre leaves and the fluting worked in the gesso, the twisted ribbon-and-stick caned, the egg-and-dart back edge compo, the sight edge, tops of the fluting and the top edge burnished water gilding. 4 1⁄ 4 inches wide.

    This distinctive fluted pattern was much used by Francis Cotes in the 1760s, and can be found on many of his oils and some of his pastels.1 The earliest securely dated example belongs to 1764 but the type may have been in use a year or two before. While the profile is still that of a Maratta frame, the fluting is an early response to the more neo-classical taste which was taken up in framing in the 1760s. Much of the effect of the frame is inexpensively achieved by working in the gesso.

    In 1768 Cotes was charging twenty-five guineas for his pastels and three guineas for their frames which he called 'Italian burnished frames'.2 This description may have applied to this fluted pattern rather than to the Maratta frames (see NPG 4890) which Cotes continued to use.

    1 The following are examples of the type (references are to E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, Oxford, 1976): Capt. Robert Nicholas, c.1762 (no. 110; Montacute), Eleanor Burdett, 1764 (no.150; private collection), Mr and Mrs Crathorne, 1767 (no.216; Huntington Art Collections, San Marino), and Mr and Mrs William Welby (no.287; private collection).

    2 Johnson, op.cit., p 84. See also Oliver Millar, The Later Georgian Portraits in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1969, p 21.

  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 434

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1769back to top

Current affairs

Radical John Wilkes is expelled from Parliament once again, on the grounds that he was an outlaw when he was voted in. He is re-elected by his Middlesex constituents, then expelled and re-elected twice more, until Parliament declares his opponent, Henry Luttrell, the winner.
First of 69 anonymous Letters of Junius appears in the Public Advertiser, exposing political corruption. The politician Sir Philip Francis is now believed to have been responsible.

Art and science

Josiah Wedgwood opens his Etruria Works for the manufacture of pottery.
Inventor Richard Arkwright patents a spinning frame able to weave fabric mechanically.
Gordon's London Dry Gin is produced for the first time.
First Royal Academy exhibition is held.
Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage is first published.


Captain Cook observes the transit of Venus in Tahiti while his passengers, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, collect valuable specimens of Pacific flora. The expedition travels on to New Zealand where Cook begins charting the country's entire coastline.
Treaty of Madras ends the First Anglo-Mysore War but fails to settle dispute.
French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot tests a steam wagon, probably the first working mechanical vehicle.

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