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Giovanni Battista Belzoni

16 of 810 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Around the world'

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Giovanni Battista Belzoni

attributed to William Brockedon
circa 1820
34 1/8 in. x 27 1/2 in. (867 mm x 699 mm)
NPG 829

This portraitback to top

Information about the portrait is contained in a letter from the donor 7 December 1889 (NPG archive). John Tribe was a minor collector of pictures. The identification is supported by various engravings showing Belzoni in Egyptian costume. When the picture first entered the NPG it was described as by an unknown artist; in the 1896 NPG Catalogue it was stated to be by Brockedon for reasons which are not given. It is close in style to other known paintings by Brockedon, that of Richard Lander (NPG 2442) for example, but apart from Colonel Grant's statement there is no documentary evidence to support the attribution; in the case of Lander the oil was a posthumous work based on the drawing in the Brockedon Album (NPG 2515(47)). NPG 829 and 2515(1) are however quite unrelated. The portrait was presumably painted on his return from Egypt to England early in 1820 when one imagines he shaved off his beard in order to conform with the fashion of the day. Certainly the Wells medal (1818), the Brockedon drawing (NPG 2515(1)) and various engravings published after 1820 show him with moustache and side whiskers only.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head and shoulders in a red and white turban, red undergarment and white cloak with dark brown fur border; seated inside a tent the entrance defined by dark red canvas and a fringe; dark brown beard, brown eyes, healthy sunburnt complexion; landscape beyond with pyramid, and orange and grey sky.

Provenanceback to top

John Tribe, by descent to his granddaughter Mrs Wood and given by Humphrey Wood 1890.

Exhibitionsback to top

Colonel M. H. Grant (Connoisseur, XCIX, 1937, p 144 but without giving a reference) mentions Brockedon exhibiting 'the giant's portrait in pontificalibus' at a gallery in 1819; but Belzoni did not return to England until 1820 and the gallery was probably the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, where he staged his Egyptian Exhibition opening 1 May 1821 (The Times, 30 April 1821). Belzoni bicentenary exhibition, Bristol 1978 (1).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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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