Sir Francis Buller, 1st Bt
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
Sir Francis Buller, 1st Bt
by Mather Brown
49 1/4 in. x 39 in. (1251 mm x 991 mm)
This portraitback to top
A preliminary chalk study for the head is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (PG 451).  The reversed stipple engraving by F. Bartolozzi first published in 1794  differs from NPG 458 in detail: Buller sits in a plain chair, his left hand  rests on papers lying on a table beside an ink well, and the folds of the robes and curtain are differently disposed. A version, descended from the Buller family, shows a book in his right hand and Lincoln’s Inn instead of Westminster Abbey in the distance. 
Footnotesback to top
1) Illus. D. Evans, Mather Brown: an early American artist in England, 1982, fig.93.
2) Reissued in 1823 as M. Browne Pinxt-F. Bartolozzi Direxit.
3) i.e. the right hand in NPG 458.
4) Sold Sotheby’s, 9 July 1980, lot 117a, and Christie’s, 13 February 1981, lot 24; D. Evans, Mather Brown: an early American artist in England, 1982, no.32.
Physical descriptionback to top
Blue eyes, white wig, wearing judicial robes: red cape and gown trimmed with white fur with a black sash; he sits on a ‘Gothic’ throne, a green drape with gold tassels above him; a view of Westminster Abbey to the right.
Provenanceback to top
Presented by the Society of Judges and Serjeants-at-Law 1877.1
1 D. Evans, Mather Brown: an early American artist in England, 1982, p 201, records that NPG 458 was said erroneously to have been sold by Lord Haldon (by F. P. Seguier, Dictionary of Monograms, I, f.151v; British Library), but this was the Buller family’s version sold Christie’s, 28 February 1891, lot 52, - the same day as the Haldon pictures were sold.
Exhibitionsback to top
RA 1792 (391);1 long loan to the Royal Courts of Justice; Lord Mansfield, Kenwood, 1971 (26); Art on the Line, Courtauld Gallery, 2001 (36).
1 Evans assumes that NPG 458 was the version exhibited.
Reproductionsback to top
F. Bartolozzi 1794; J. Owen, 1799 (bust length; Public Characters of 1798-99); Orme jr. 1800 (European Mag.; half-length oval).
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.
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.