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Thomas Augustine Arne

1 of 5 portraits of Thomas Augustine Arne

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Augustine Arne

after Francesco Bartolozzi
1770-1782, based on a work of circa 1770
11 in. x 8 3/4 in. (279 mm x 222 mm)
NPG 1130

Inscriptionback to top

Titled: HARMONY AND SENTIMENT/‘By Music minds an equal temper know;/Nor swell too high nor sink too low;/Warriors she fires with animated sounds;/Pours balm into the bleeding lovers wounds’ [Rule Britannia].

This portraitback to top

NPG 1130 ultimately derives from the caricature drawing by Bartolozzi at Windsor [1] which, in turn, as Oppé suggested, may have been inspired by a caricature by P. L. Ghezzi [2] of the Italian musician Filippo San Felice. The Bartolozzi may date from c.1770 according to costume and the sitter’s age; it was engraved anonymously in 1782, [3] the plate differing in detail in the coat buttons, the cuff buttonholes, the elaborated organ case, and the omission of the candlestick. A second, more finished, Bartolozzi drawing, sold Christie’s, 8 May 1975, lot 153, compares more closely with this engraving. [4]
NPG 1130 popularises the Bartolozzi design: the figure is extended to three-quarter length, and a stool, upright organ case and curtain are added, together with the music of Rule Britannia and the execrable verses from the text.

Footnotesback to top

1) A. P. Oppé, English Drawings, Stuart and Georgian periods, in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, 1950, no.47, pl.39.
2) Engraved in 1758; illus. A. P. Oppé, English Drawings, Stuart and Georgian periods, in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, 1950, p 25, fig.5.
3) Published by William Humphrey; inscribed: Done from an Original Sketch by F. Bartolozzi (M. D. George, British Museum, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires, VI, 8240); it has been attributed to Gillray (Christie’s, 8 May 1975, lot 153). Other engraved versions by W. N. Gardiner after J. Nixon (M. D. George, British Museum, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires, VI, 8240a) and H. Adlard; a later engraved version by J. Greatbach 1838 (for G. Hogarth’s Memoirs of the Musical Drama, II, 1838). A crude, reversed, copy in oil, attributed to J. Cruise c.1830, with Ralph Griffin 1915.
4) A weak copy sold Sotheby’s, 22 March 1944, lot 43.

Referenceback to top

Holmes 1915
C. J. Holmes, Burl. Mag., XXVII, 1915, pp 182, 187.

Physical descriptionback to top

Black coat and hair ribbon, red topped stool, blue curtain; the music headed Rule Brittania.

Provenanceback to top

Presented by Sir Lionel Cust 1898.

Exhibitionsback to top

Thomas Arne, British Library, 1978.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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