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Unknown man, formerly known as John Clare

3 of 965 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Eating and drinking'

Unknown man, formerly known as John Clare, by William Henry Hunt, 1820s -NPG 3843 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Unknown man, formerly known as John Clare

by William Henry Hunt
1820s
12 3/8 in. x 8 7/8 in. (314 mm x 225 mm)
NPG 3843

Inscriptionback to top

Signed lower right: W Hunt.

This portraitback to top

The drawing was given to the NPG as a portrait of John Clare but even then the identification with Clare was tenuous and put forward by the donor simply on hearsay evidence. Woolley retired to Wiltshire, and devoted himself to collecting treasures at local sales, but with less scrupulous accuracy than in his archaeological excavations; he was easily duped. There is no record of any meeting between Hunt and Clare and beyond a vague facial resemblance and the presence of Clare's well-known attributes of a jug of beer and a mug (common to many rustics), the identification is unconvincing and best treated as 'Unknown Man'. Mr and Mrs Tibble devoted considerable research to the drawing but were unable to come to any definite conclusion.

Physical descriptionback to top

Three-quarter-length seated in labourer's clothes, hands crossed, a table with mug and jug to right.

Provenanceback to top

Given by Sir Leonard Woolley, 1952.


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.

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