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Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington

1 of 3 portraits of Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington

by James Holmes
circa 1812
5 7/8 in. x 4 5/8 in. (150 mm x 118 mm)
NPG 1523

This portraitback to top

The earliest record of this portrait in the NPG archive is to the National Portrait Exhibition 1868 where it was lent by Edward Kenealy, the notorious counsel for the Tichborne claimant. It was then considered to represent 'Beau Brummell' by Lawrence and remained with this identity (though re-attributed to Holmes on acquisition in 1908) until 1914. Mrs Stirling of Guildford called at the NPG in May 1911 with the news that she had seen in Ireland similar portraits on the same scale but called Blessington. Correspondence with Blessington's collateral descendants, Captain Fowler of County Meath and others, elicited the information that the family possessed two other copies, one inscribed 'the Earl of Blessington' on the back of the frame. On this evidence the identity was adjusted and published in the 1914 NPG catalogue.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head and shoulders to right in black 'uniform' with fur collar and red lining, yellow waistcoat with amber beads, white frilly shirt, voluminous black bow-tie; curly brown hair, blue eyes, pale face with rouged cheek, aged about 30; plain greyish-green background.

Provenanceback to top

E. V. Kenealy LL.D; W. V. Cronin and his sale Samuel B. Clark & Son 18 November 1908 (7), bought John Glen who sold it to the NPG as 'Beau Brummell'.

Exhibitionsback to top

Third Exhibition of Naitonal Portraits, South Kensington, 1868 (867) lent by Dr Kenealy as Beau Brummell by Sir Thomas Lawrence (label removed from the back in 1932 and now in registered packet in NPG archive).


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.