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Francis Hayman; Grosvenor Bedford

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- subject matching 'Self-portraits'

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Francis Hayman; Grosvenor Bedford

by Francis Hayman
circa 1748-1750
28 1/4 in. x 36 in. (718 mm x 914 mm)
NPG 217

This portraitback to top

Both as a recognizable self-portrait and on stylistic grounds, NPG 217 is certainly of, and by Hayman. The chair appears in several other of his conversation pieces and was clearly his own. NPG 217 may be dated on costume to c.1740-45. Piper, [1] in 1955, expressed doubts about the second figure hitherto believed to be Sir Robert Walpole since, unlike all other portraits, even when in hunting dress, he is not shown with the Garter ribbon. Ralph Edwards [2] subsequently drew attention to the resemblance between this sitter and the man in Hayman's oil of the same date known as 'The Walpole family' now in the Exeter Museum, from the Rosebery collection, previous history unknown. [3] Shown with a lady, presumably his wife, and a boy of perhaps five or six years old, this sitter is also without the Garter and, even accepting a certain uniformity in Hayman's portraits, his identity as Walpole is not convincing. Furthermore, Walpole's children, at the time, would have been adult. Girouard's suggestion of Martin Folkes [4] is very credible and agrees well with known portraits. However, if the Exeter Museum portrait and the sitter of NPG 217 represent the same man, it is difficult to equate him with Folkes whose only son Martin matriculated in 1737 and died in France probably c.1739-42. A possible candidate, based on provenance, is Grosvenor Bedford whose family was closely connected with Walpole and who was apparently his deputy at the exchequer between 1755 and his death in 1771. His son, Charles, who succeeded him, might be the small boy in the Exeter picture. No certain portraits of either of these two are yet known.
It has been suggested by Miss R. H. Harris [5] that the composition is based on an illustration by Claude Gillot in the fables of Houdard de la Motte. [6]

Footnotesback to top

1) NPG archives, memo.
2) The Listener, letter, 22 December 1955, p 1089.
3) Sold Christie's, 5 May 1939, lot 53.
4) M. Girouard, 'Hogarth and His Friends', Country Life, CXXXIX, 1966, p 189.
5) Miss R. H. Harris, 'The Conversation Piece of Georgian England', exhibition catalogue, p 19.
6) Antoine Houdard de la Motte, Fables, Paris, 1719, p 220.

Physical descriptionback to top

The artist in brown, a porte-crayon in his right hand, brushes and palette in his left, standing at an easel, sculpture on a table and picture on the wall, behind; the other figure, plump-faced and with large stomach, in lavender suit, is seated, right, and gestures as if commenting on the artist's work; in a studio; lit from top left. Exhibition label Second Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1867, on the back of the relining stretcher.

Conservationback to top

Relined at least once before Second Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1867; surface cleaned and varnished, 1895.

Provenanceback to top

Bought Christie's, 15 June 1866, lot 93, in Farrer's sale, following an earlier unsuccessful bid when the picture first appeared Christie's, 1 March 1861, lot 28, 'Hayman ... Interior of the Studio, with the Artist Painting the Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole', bought Farrer. The sale, described as 'a collection of Walpoleana the property of the late Grosvenor Charles Bedford, Esq., of the Exchequer, Whose Family had been connected with that of Sir Robert Walpole, by early private friendship and subsequently Official Employment, from 1700-1797 as deputy usher of the Exchequer ...', included a number of books printed at the Strawberry Hill Press, portraits of the Walpole family and literary figures such as the Maubert portrait of Dryden, lot 38 (now NPG 1133) and a drawing of Southey by Edridge, lot 40 (now NPG 119). As far as can be checked, the other Walpole portraits are authentic.

Exhibitionsback to top

Second Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1867 (262); 'Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century', Exeter, 1951 (5); 'Painting and Sculpture in England 1700-1750', Liverpool, 1958 (11); 'The Conversation Piece in Georgian England', Kenwood, 1965 (22).


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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