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George Canning

George Canning, by Sir Thomas Lawrence; Richard Evans, circa 1825 -NPG 1338 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

George Canning

by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and completed by Richard Evans
circa 1825
36 in. x 23 3/4 in. (914 mm x 603 mm)
NPG 1338

This portraitback to top

Lawrence's original portrait, a full-size whole length, is at Harewood House and said to have been painted for Canning himself; it was exhibited RA 1825, engraved by Charles Turner, and a replica is in Buckingham Palace; variants without the House of Commons background are in the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, Waterloo Chamber Windsor Castle, and (head and shoulders only) in a private collection in Washington, painted for Lord Dudley in 1828.
According to letters from the vendor (Mrs Holmes, October-December 1902, in NPG archive), the NPG copy was 'painted in the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence not for sale but for himself, and a copy of one he did from life. In this picture the head is by Lawrence and the rest by his assistant Evans. It was purchased by my grandfather Charles Tilt from "Wright" … (and) has been in the house of my late father, Dr J. H. Gladstone, since 1864'. The head and shoulders are of very good quality and there seems to be no reason to doubt Mrs Holmes's assertion; in fact some authorities have suggested that the head itself may have been the original study used for the full-sized version at Harewood and its replicas and variants (Kenneth Garlick, Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, 1964, p 49).
A small whole-length version, standing in the full House of Commons surrounded by Members of Parliament, belonged to Mrs Croker and was seen by Scharf in 1880 in her rooms in Kensington Palace (Scharf's sketch in Sir George Scharf’s Trustees’ Sketchbooks, XX, VII, 7). A miniature enamel copy, head and shoulders only, by William Essex 1828, was at Christie's 18 March 1975 (57). 20th century copies are in the Foreign Office formerly in Lord Allendale's collection (GAC 0/81), and at Christie's 11 March 1966 (155).

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length standing with arms folded in the empty House of Commons, aged about 55, greyish hair, brown eyes, fresh complexion; black frock-coat with velvet collar, dark grey trousers, white neckcloth and tie; top-hat, gloves, red cloak, Foreign Office dispatch box, all on Front Bench to left; red curtains in background, bench upholstered in pale red, carpet in two shades of brown.

Provenanceback to top

Sir Thomas Lawrence; 'Wright' (? a dealer); Charles Tilt and sold by his granddaughter Mrs Isabella M. Holmes to the NPG in 1903.

Exhibitionsback to top

'Edward Lear', British Council Exhibition in Athens, 1964; 'President Monroe's Message', NPG Washington, 1973-4.

Reproductionsback to top

(of the original at Harewood)
Mezzotint by Charles Turner 1829 (Alfred Whitman, Charles Turner, 1907, 95); Turner's watercolour drawing for this mezzotint was offered to the NPG in 1939; Half-length stipple by Maurier was published in Paris, October 1827, without acknowledgement to Lawrence.

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.

View all known portraits for George Canning

View all known portraits for Sir Thomas Lawrence


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