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Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork

by Jonathan Richardson
circa 1717-1719
57 1/2 in. x 46 in. (1461 mm x 1165 mm)
NPG 4818

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed beneath the coat of arms, in gold script: Earl of Burlington.
A MS label, 32 on the back of the stretcher.

This portraitback to top

NPG 4818 first appeared in the saleroom in 1954 wrongly ascribed to Hayman and without previous history. Doubts as to identity, the inscription notwithstanding, rested mainly on a contemporary description of the arms as 'party per bend crenelle pearl and ruby'. [1] However, the building depicted is now known to be the bagnio or cassina erected by Burlington to his own design in the grounds of Chiswick House in 1717 [2] published in Vitruvius Britannicus [3], and the portrait was probably painted between that year and the sitter's second visit to Italy in 1719. The features and the handling are very close to another three-quarter length sold as by an unknown artist, Christie's, 1 March 1935, lot 100, anonymous property. In this, the sitter, now older, wears the lesser George (Burlington was admitted to the Garter in 1730) and holds a square; the allegorical figure, top left, holds an earl's coronet. Both portraits are typical of the work of Jonathan Richardson. Among the principal pictures at Burton Park, Sussex, Neale described, in 1824, what appears to be the second portrait, or a version of it: 'Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, holding a square to denote his skill in architecture. Richardson.’ [4] There is no known family connection to account for the presence of a Burlington at Burton. The link may well be an architectural one since the first house there was built for Richard Burton c.1740 by the Palladian Giacomo Leoni. [5]

Footnotesback to top

1) The British Compendium or Rudiments of Honour, 8th edition, 1738, I, p 378, pl.30.
2) C. Hussey, 'The Young Lord Burlington', Country Life, CXXVII, 1960, p 1494.
3) See Colin Campbell, Vitruvius ..., III, 1725, pl.26.
4) J. P. Neale, Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen etc., VII, 1824 (unpaginated).
5) H. M. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1954, p 364.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, straight nose, clear complexion, rounded chin; scarlet velvet cap and matching coat, white shirt open at the collar, grey silk waistcoat with multicolour sash; in his right hand he holds a pair of dividers, his elbow resting on a pedestal with an earl's coronet and beneath it, a coat of arms, a monochrome shield, a bend embattled, counter embattled; background of trees, brown and green foliage, and, right, the small building he designed for Chiswick House; lit from the left.

Conservationback to top

Some discoloured varnish still evident in the darks; partially cleaned since 1954. Originally a 50 x 40, it has been skilfully enlarged by about 3 ½ inches all round, probably at a very early date and possibly in the artist's studio: 'lately, he makes his Cloths of his half len. 3 Inches longer than others & 1 Inch ½ wider.' [1] The inscription runs across the enlargement.

1) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, vols XVIll-XXIX, 1930-55, III, p 54, writing c.1731.

Provenanceback to top

Bought, 1970, from the collection of Mrs G. C. Lancaster, with the aid of a grant of £2000 from the National Art Collections Fund (Mrs A. M. Marshall bequest) and the proceeds from the exhibition of Dr R. M. McDonald's collection at Leggatt's; at Sotheby's, 28 July 1954, lot 137, previous history unknown.

Exhibitionsback to top

'The Countess of Suffolk and her Friends', Marble Hill House, Twickenham, 1966 (9), as by Dahl.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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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