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Sir William Blackstone

1 of 2 portraits of Sir William Blackstone

Sir William Blackstone, by Unknown artist, circa 1755 -NPG 388 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Sir William Blackstone

by Unknown artist
circa 1755
49 in. x 39 1/4 in. (1245 mm x 997 mm)
NPG 388

This portraitback to top

Although NPG 388 long bore an attribution to Reynolds, this is untenable; the figure sits uncomfortably and the composition overall is inelegant.

Referenceback to top

Graves & Cronin 1899-1901
A. Graves & W. V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 4 vols., 1899-1901, I, pp 87-88.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, white powdered wig; wearing white bands, a black suit beneath a scarlet and rose DCL gown; he holds a sealed document and sits in carved, maroon-upholstered chair.

Provenanceback to top

Philip Goode (b. 1782), solicitor of Howland Street, London, by 1858;1 he bequeathed his ‘original portrait of Sir William Blackstone by Sir Joshua Reynolds’ to his wife and thence to his younger son; sold by order of Chancery [Joseph v. Goode etc], Furber, Price & Furber, 22 October 1873 (‘valuable portrait of Judge Blackstone painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds’); Price & Furber, sold Christie’s, 31 January 1874, lot 300; purchased from Graves, March 1874.

1 The sitter’s grandson, William Blackstone (1810-81), had sold the Gainsborough portrait in 1835, see M. Davies, National Gallery Catalogues, The British School, 1946, p 62; NPG 388 was possibly sold by the family at the same time.

Reproductionsback to top

Scriven 1826 (from the original ... by Reynolds); R. B. Parkes 1874.


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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