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James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont

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- subject matching 'Uniforms'

James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont, by JGD; Richard Livesay, circa 1783 -NPG 176 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont

by JGD, after Richard Livesay
circa 1783
26 1/2 in. x 19 1/2 in. (673 mm x 495 mm)
NPG 176

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed verso: General Earl of Charlemont/Copy from the Original in M Walcots possession, by JGD 1784.

This portraitback to top

The original portrait, presumably that now in the National Gallery of Ireland (4051) [1] and evidently painted for ‘Mr Wolcot’, celebrated Charlemont’s command of the Ulster Volunteers and his leadership of the national Volunteer movement. The movement initially led to the Irish parliament obtaining greater legislative independence in 1782, but Charlemont’s plea for moderation subsequently reduced their role. [2]
NPG 176 is dated 1784, the year before the publication of Dean’s mezzotint; it is almost the same size, and it appears possible that ‘JGD’ was the engraver himself, who is known to have painted occasionally. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) From the collection of the 6th Earl of Arran; sold Sotheby’s, 23 June 1971, lot 100.
2) See for example, J. Kelley in M. McCarthy ed. Lord Charlemont and his Circle, 2001, pp 18-29.
3) Cf. E. K. Waterhouse, Dictionary of British Eighteenth-century Painters, 1981, p 104.

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue-grey eyes, grey powdered hair, wearing the light blue ribbon of St Patrick, and the irregular uniform of a volunteer general:1 red coat with black facings and gold trim, cream waistcoat and breeches, his black hat with a gold trim on the floor beside him with his sword; he sits in a green chair, his right hand resting on papers inscribed ULSTER VOLUNTEERS, lying on a table covered with a green cloth; on the far wall are four medallions lettered VALOUR, HIBERNIA RESURGENS, CONCORDE and MODERATION; in the distance troops are drilling.

1 So described by Maj. N. P. Dawnay (February 1952; NPG archive).

Provenanceback to top

By descent to the 3rd Earl of Charlemont,1 from whom purchased 1864.

1 Who wrote to Scharf, 28 May 1864 saying that the portrait ‘was painted from life by I believe Livesay, but at all events by the artist who painted the portraits of the first Knights of St Patrick at the time of the Institution of the order [i.e. J. K. Sherwin] … [of several portraits he had of his grandfather] this is the only full length & the only painting which represents him in the Uniform of General in Chief of the Volunteers of 82 & with the star & ribbon of the order of S.P.’ (NPG archive).

Reproductionsback to top

J. Dean 1785 (Painted by R. Livesay ...).1

1 J. C. Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 4 vols., 1878-84, 5. The papers on the table inscribed: To General Earl of Charlemont Dublin; Thanks of Parliament to the Volun[teers]; the date 11 Feby 1782 follows Ulster Volunteers. The plaques on the wall inscribed: Adsur/toribus/Libertatis/publicae; Hibernia resurgens, Concordia and Moderationi.

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.

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