7 of 37 portraits on display in the Room 14 miniature case at the National Portrait Gallery
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
after James Barry
2 1/2 in. x 2 in. (64 mm x 51 mm)
This portraitback to top
Acquired in 1891 as a portrait of William Combe, NPG 854 had been correctly identified by 1906.  It is copied from the three-quarter length portrait, ‘truly that of an orator’, commissioned by Dr Richard Brocklesby from James Barry in 1772 and now untraced.  Complicated by Barry’s neuroses and in particular by his jealousy of Reynolds, to whom Burke was sitting at the same time, the commission was only completed after an anguished exchange of letters between Barry and Burke in July 1774.  Two full-size copies are recorded: in the National Gallery of Ireland (128)  and sold Sotheby's, 20 July 1987, lot 35.
Footnotesback to top
1) When a new label was drafted (NPG archives).
2) W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 238, no.46a.
3) Burke Corr., III, pp 4-9.
4) W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 238, no.46b.
Referenceback to top
R. J. B. Walker, A Catalogue of paintings, drawings, engravings and sculpture in The Palace of Westminster compiled during 1959-77, 4 vols., 1988, [type-script in NPG archive], no.63.
Physical descriptionback to top
Brown eyes, fair hair, red-brown coat, white neckcloth.
Provenanceback to top
Purchased from G. Redford 1891 (as William Combe by Richard Cosway).
Exhibitionsback to top
Samuel Johnson, Londoner, Royal Exchange, London, 1964; Gillray, Tate, 2001 (100f).
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.