- Extended catalogue entry
Regency Portraits Catalogue
possibly by George Cooke
36 in. x 28 in. (914 mm x 711 mm)
This portraitback to top
The artist is unknown though a visitor, Mr E. Kersley, has suggested the name Matthews of Manchester (or Birmingham) on the grounds of comparison with a similar portrait of Cobbett's son holding Cobbett's Letter to a Young Man (note in NPG archive). A more likely possibility is that it was a sketch by the engraver George Cooke and worked into the large lithograph by N. Maurin. A copy of this lithograph, given by Miss Eleanor Cobbett to J. S. Thornton and by him to the NPG in 1895, bears a facsimile inscription in Cobbett's handwriting relating to the trial for incitement to sedition, and beginning: 'This portrait represents me in the dress I wore at the memorable trial, before the Lord Chief Justice Tenterden and a special Jury, in the Guildhall of the City of London on the 7 July 1831 ...' and signed 'Wm Cobbett, Kensington, 20 July 1831'. George Cooke was a prolific and meticulous engraver but portraits in oil by him are not known; this rather amateurish work may conceivably be his. Another oil version offered to the NPG in 1878 was inscribed on the letter in his right hand: yr ob. St. Sam Chinn (see sketch by Scharf in Sir George Scharf’s Trustees’ Sketchbooks, XXVI, 11). A modern copy by Brenda Morgan is in the National Liberal Club.
Physical descriptionback to top
Half-length to left aged about 70, white hair and eyebrows, light grey eyes, ruddy complexion; grey coat, pale yellow waistcoat, white cravat; red curtain background and wooded landscape through window left.
Provenanceback to top
Bought from E. Parson & Sons 1909.
Reproductionsback to top
Related and possibly the original of a large lithograph by Maurin from a picture by G. Cooke; a half-length vignette was used as frontispiece to Robert Huish, Memoir of the late William Cobbett, 1835, vol.II; a modern woodcut by John Farleigh was used as frontispiece to Reitzel's edition, 1933, of The Progress of a Plough-boy to a Seat in Parliament.
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 William Cobbett