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Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham, by John Field, circa 1823 -NPG 3068 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Jeremy Bentham

by John Field
circa 1823
3 1/8 in. x 2 1/2 in. (79 mm x 64 mm)
NPG 3068

Inscriptionback to top

The label, formerly verso, of Miers & Field/111 The Strand, London,1 has been inscribed: Jeremy Bentham a good likeness2 and, in an earlier hand: From the Original./to his dear Niece,/Sarah Jane Bentham/2.5.p.5 Aug 1823.

1 John Miers d. 1821; Field then worked with his son as Miers and Field until 1830.
2 This hand recurs on the label NPG 3069, see Samuel Bentham.

This portraitback to top

Another example in University College, London, is inscribed J. Bentham Aged 75. 1822/As good a likeness as can be conceived – done in this way. [1] In 1823 Bentham’s nephew George took three such silhouettes for his sisters in Paris, one of them evidently NPG 3068. [2]
In November 1822 Bentham had sent to Field and Miers hair for silhouette memorial rings (incorporating smaller images of the head alone); in his Will he left twenty-seven rings to his friends and employees, of which one, given to the Scottish publisher William Tait, is with University College. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) C. Fuller ed., The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham, 1998, p 55.
2) Ibid. Another with plaited hair beneath the truncation illus. S. McKechnie, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-8160, 1978, no.756, as coll. M. A. H. Christie.
3) Illus. C. Fuller ed., The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham, 1998, p 55, pl.VII.

Referenceback to top

Fuller 1998
C. Fuller ed., The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham, 1998 (University College, London), p 55.

Provenanceback to top

Given by the sitter in 1823 to his niece Sarah Bentham; her brother George Bentham (d. 1884), whose collections passed to Sir Joseph and Lady Hooker who sold it, with other Bentham material, to the British Museum in 1897; transferred to the NPG in 1939.1

1 For this provenance, see NPG 3069.

Exhibitionsback to top

Silhouette, NPG, 1972 (16).


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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