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William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath

4 of 1413 portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
possibly 19th century, based on a work of 1755-1757
50 in. x 40 in. (1270 mm x 1016 mm)
NPG 35

This portraitback to top

Catalogued as a Reynolds of 1757, [1] an x-ray taken in 1963 confirmed NPG 35 as a copy after the type engraved by McArdell and lettered Reynolds P. 1757 .... Another head was revealed under the present one, slightly above and to the right, with a hair style in fashion c.1810. Reynolds' first portrait of the sitter probably relates to sittings of 25 and 28 August 1755. [2] The sitter book for 1756 is missing; no sittings are recorded in 1757. Despite the poor handling, NPG 35 shows a certain resemblance to the artist's style after his return from Italy.

Footnotesback to top

1) Sir George Scharf, Historical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures, Busts & etc. in the National Portrait Gallery, new and enlarged edition, 1888, pp 41-2.
2) Sir Ellis K. Waterhouse, Reynolds's 'Sitter Book' for 1755, Walpole Society, XLI, 1968, p 134.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark brown eyes, grey eyebrows, double chin, grey wig; earl's parliamentary robes over brown velvet suit, white neck-cloth inside the collar of his robes, white lace wrist ruffles, a signet ring with crest in dark grey stone on the fifth finger of his left hand; red-backed chair with carved arm rests; plain brown background; lit from top right.

Conservationback to top

Lightly cleaned and varnished, 1950.

Provenanceback to top

Bought, 1858, from T. Moore, a London dealer; earlier history uncertain. Moore stated that the painting had belonged to Mr Tolcher of Plymouth but in 1898 the Rev. G. L. Woollcombe had a painting bought by his great-uncle H. Woollcombe at Tolcher's sale. It is also claimed that it belonged in 1845 to Lord Northwick. [1]

1) A. Graves and W. V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1899-1901, p 63.

Reproductionsback to top

The type engraved by James McArdell, 1758, lettered (in the second state) Reynolds P. 1757 McArdell F. 1758 ... From an original painting in the possession of Henry Tolcher Esquire. [1]

1) G. Goodwin, James McArdell, 1903 (70).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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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