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Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham, by Henry William Pickersgill, exhibited 1829 -NPG 413 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Jeremy Bentham

by Henry William Pickersgill
exhibited 1829
80 1/2 in. x 54 1/2 in. (2044 mm x 1384 mm)
NPG 413

This portraitback to top

Of the books displayed, Locke had long been Bentham’s mentor (‘without Locke, I could have known nothing’); the Portuguese journals had been sent to him on receipt of a Portuguese edition of his works and as a mark of respect while he was drafting material for a new constitutional code for Portugal; his Moral Legislation (the second edition of which appeared in 1823) had assumed considerable importance for him within his writings.
NPG 413 was described by Bowring as ‘of all the pictures painted [of Bentham], [it] is incomparably the best. It is distinguished, indeed, by every kind of excellence’. [1] A reduced version, formerly owned by Sir John Bowring, was acquired by University College, London, in 1965. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) Bentham Works, X, 1843, p 536.
2) Illus. C. Fuller ed., The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham, 1998, no.5, pl.III and cover.

Referenceback to top

Fuller 1998
C. Fuller ed., The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham, 1998 (University College, London), pp 30-31.

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue eyes, white hair, wearing a claret-coloured coat with dark collar and cuffs, black breeches and stockings; a brown cloth on the table on which the books are lettered, from the left: BENTH[AM] ON MORAL and LEGISLA[TION], DIARIO[S] DAS COR[TES E] CONSTIT[UINTES] DA NACA[O] PORTUG[EZA] TOMO I, and LOCKE.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased from the artist’s sale, Christie’s, 16 July 1875, lot 351.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1829 (127); Third and concluding exhibition of National Portraits (fortieth year of the reign of George the third to MDCCCLXVII), South Kensington, (266); Romantic Icons, Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, 1999 (13).

Reproductionsback to top

C. Fox 1838 (bust only).1

1 The steel engraved plate is in the NPG archive, presented by Sir William Thiselton-Dyer, J. D. Hooker's son-in-law, in 1892.


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.

View all known portraits for Jeremy Bentham

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