Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
4 of 280 portraits of Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
- Extended catalogue entry
Regency Portraits Catalogue
Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
45 in. x 32 1/4 in. (1143 mm x 819 mm)
This portraitback to top
According to two letters from Lawrence to the engraver William Walker the portrait was commissioned by Walker himself and painted between July and September 1825. Lawrence decided to enlarge it and wrote from Paris where he was painting Charles X and the Dauphin, 'I am sorry for the additional trouble and time that I have occasion'd to you by enlarging the size of the Portrait, since you determine to extend that of the Engraving. The Picture however will probably be of more value and the Plate itself of more consequence. The Head I shall not touch again, nor probably the background immediately round it … The addition to its size being entirely my own Act, the price of the Picture can only be that which was at first fixed between us, viz: that of a three quarters Portrait, and not of the unusual dimensions of the present work …' (MS letter from Lawrence in NPG archive). The enlargement consisted of a 10.5cm strip of wood fitted along the top edge, the original size of the panel being Lawrence's normal three-quarter-length, 103.5 x 82.0 (40 3/4 X 32 1/4).
Walker's commission is confirmed in O'Donoghue's article on him in the Dictionary of National Biography where it is stated that Walker had a cast made of Brougham's face to ensure accuracy. This was probably the life-mask exhibited by the phrenologist George Combe in America in 1838-9 (Laurence Hutton, Portraits in Plaster, 1894, p 261). A plaster mask, formerly belonging to Joseph Parkes, was offered to the NPG by Madame Bessie Belloc in 1893. Walker appears to have sold the portrait in about 1830 to Raeburn's younger son Henry (letter in Huntington Library from Wilkie to Raeburn) who lent it to the Manchester Exhibition in 1857; shortly after this it was acquired for Clumber House, sold at Christie's in 1939 and bought for the NPG in 1943.
Physical descriptionback to top
Three-quarter-length standing aged 47, hands folded on papers tied with red tape; dark brown hair, grey eyes, pale complexion, dark brown coat with black collar, black silk waistcoat, dark grey trousers with blue seal ribbon at waist, white neckcloth and shirt-frills, red curtain against an architectural background.
Provenanceback to top
William Walker; Henry Raeburn junior; said to have been bought at Christie's in 1858 by the Duke of Newcastle; Earl of Lincoln (Clumber House sale) Christie's 31 March 1939 (29) bought Fine Art Society from whom bought by the NPG with help from NACF 1943.
Exhibitionsback to top
Manchester 1857 (7) lent by H. Raeburn; Nottingham Art Gallery c.1929-38 lent by Lord Lincoln.
Reproductionsback to top
Stipple and mezzotint private plate by William Walker November 1830 (related correspondence between Lawrence and Walker (dated July and September 1825) was bought by Maggs Bros for the NPG at Sotheby's 21 July 1965 (824) and is in the NPG archive); a small stipple by Robinson was published in Jerdan's National Portrait Gallery, 1832.
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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