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Sir William Congreve, 2nd Bt

Sir William Congreve, 2nd Bt, by James Lonsdale, circa 1812 -NPG 982f - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir William Congreve, 2nd Bt

by James Lonsdale
circa 1812
29 3/4 in. x 24 3/4 in. (756 mm x 629 mm)
NPG 982f

This portraitback to top

Lonsdale exhibited two portraits of Congreve: (1) RA 1808 (4), probably the whole-length engraved by Clint in mezzotint 1809 'Directing the discharge of the Fire Rockets invented by him into the Town of Copenhagen during the Bombardment ... in 1807', and (2) RA 1812 (781), a drawing of 'Col. Congreve, equerry to H.R.H. the Prince Regent'. The NPG portrait is probably a development of the latter. Congreve invented his fire rocket in 1807 and the 'Congreve Rocket' in 1808. He does not appear in the Army Lists and the uniform he wears seems to be that of an equerry, an appointment he was given in about 1810.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head and shoulders to left in scarlet and gold uniform, aged about 40; short powdered hair, brown whiskers, fresh complexion.

Provenanceback to top

The artist; his son James John Lonsdale and offered by him in 1873 together with portraits of Queen Caroline (NPG 498), Lord Brougham (NPG 361) and Joseph Nollekens (NPG 360). Brougham and Nollekens were accepted, Queen Caroline and Congreve declined, but Queen Caroline was offered again in 1878 and accepted. There is no mention in the Gallery archive of the acquisition of Congreve though it would be reasonable to assume that it was given by J. J. Lonsdale between 1878 and 1887, the date of his death.

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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