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Alexander Knox

8 of 23 portraits by Henry Adlard

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Alexander Knox

by Henry Adlard, after Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey
stipple engraving, published 1834
8 3/4 in. x 5 5/8 in. (223 mm x 144 mm) paper size
Given by Henry Witte Martin, 1861
Reference Collection
NPG D10739

Sitterback to top

  • Alexander Knox (1757-1831), Theological writer. Sitter in 1 portrait.

Artistsback to top

Events of 1834back to top

Current affairs

Sir Robert Peel, Tory, replaces Whig Lord Melbourne as Prime Minister, promising measured reform in a shift from reactionary 'Tory' to more measured 'Conservative' politics (he had voted for the 1832 Reform Act).
Trial of Tolpuddle Martyrs, six labourers transported to Australia after trying to raise funds for workers in need by forming a Friendly Society.

Art and science

Charles Babbage's invents the Analytic Machine. Considered to be the forerunner to the modern computer, the machine was able to make automatic mathematical calculations.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton publishes his hugely popular, but now largely neglected, novel Last Days of Pompeii, set in the Italian city at the time of Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79AD.


Dom Miguel I, King of Portugal, is defeated by his brother Pedro IV, in the Portuguese civil war.
Slavery is abolished in the British dominions, although slaves still working are indentured to their former owners in an 'apprenticeship' system; the philanthropist Joseph Sturge was a prominent critic of the policy, which was abolished in 1838. Whilst slave owners received compensation, slaves received nothing.

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Nicholas Fox

10 June 2016, 15:43

By sheer coincidence I was visiting the NPG portrait sculpture gallery, as I have done many times, and my father before me. Going towards the escalator I noticed that a seat was free in front of one of the reference monitors, so I sat down in front of it. I have never done that before. Looking up the index for writers, poets, artists etc in the Regency period, I chanced upon the print by Adlard of Alexander Knox, and fell off my chair when I saw the subject. The marble bust was of a distinguished looking personage I had grown up with, and which had been always been in my parents drawing room, and upon their demise, passed on to me in my house. My father had had correspondence with the NPG, British Museum, the V&A, and even the Louvre in Paris. None was able to identify the subject, and my father went to his grave, never knowing who it was.

My uncle, a diplomat, died in his thirties very unexpectedly in a fatal hit and run accident in a small country lane in Kent in the 1950s. It was too sudden to have any provenance from him, or those of any others of the antiquities/works of art he left. It was not until I took a picture of my father’s to show the head of the Mellon Centre in Bedford Square, that I was given the name of someone who might know who the bust was. When the gentleman saw it, he realised that it was good, mentioning Nollekins, as well as Chantrey, and he said he would look out for any contemporary portraits on his travels, that might give a clue. He also said that being unpolished, it was highly likely that the sitter had died, and the bust put aside by the sculptor, no longer being of interest. But it did give me a clue of a likely date.

It was not until I sent it to Christie’s, and perhaps I ought to have brought it to you first (it was exceedingly heavy to have to tote around, and worry about damaging it!), that the sale notes made reference to the matt finish used by Chantrey on his other distinguished portrait busts in London, that it was shown not to have been a cast off at all.

The bust is being sold by Christies in Paris later this month on 15th June. I can give you other information if necessary.

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