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Study for 'Patrons and Lovers of Art'

3 of 10 portraits of George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Study for 'Patrons and Lovers of Art'

by Pieter Christoffel Wonder
1826-1830
24 1/8 in. x 18 in. (613 mm x 457 mm)
NPG 794

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed with their names in pencil: Mr Agar Ellis, Lord Grosvenor, Marquess of Stafford.
Old labels on the back indicate their relative positions.

This portraitback to top

The four groups (NPG 792-5) are preliminary studies for a large picture of an imaginary gallery hung with pictures from famous collections in England. The idea was conceived by General Sir John Murray who already owned a similar picture by Gonzalez Coques, probably a version of the famous Coques Picture Gallery in the Mauritshuis, of which a variant is at Windsor Castle and others were well-known at the time. Lord Egremont owned one by Teniers, of the Archduke Leopold's Gallery. Murray commissioned Pieter Wonder to paint its English companion with the collectors grouped in the foreground and about 40 well-known Old Masters hanging on the walls. Pieter Wonder came over from Holland in about 1822 under Murray's aegis and exhibited in London 1823-31, his last work being at the British Institution 1831 (345) - 'An Interior of a Picture Gallery with Portraits 5ft 7in x 7ft 4in', presumably the finished work for which the groups are studies.
In the 'Imaginary Gallery', Lord Dover has Lawrence's portrait of Lady Dover and her child. As George Agar-Ellis, MP for Seaford, he was a prime mover in Parliament for the purchase of the Angerstein collection, the nucleus of the National Gallery. Lord Grosvenor has several pictures: Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Werf (NG 3909), Cattle in Meadow by Paul Potter and Visitation by Rembrandt. John Young's Catalogue of the Pictures at Grosvenor House was published in 1821. The Stafford Gallery is also strongly represented with Cuyp's Shipping prominent on the left, Woman with Spaniel by Metsu, pictures by Guido, Steen and Ostade, and Van Dyck's Madonna and Child now on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Lord Stafford himself is represented by the Phillips portrait painted in 1805. Sumptuous catalogues of his collection had long been published: Catalogue Raisonné of Pictures belonging to the Marquis of Stafford ... at Cleveland House by John Britton (1808) and W. Y. Ottley's Engravings of the Stafford Collection, 4 quarto volumes, 1818.

Referenceback to top

Brown 1981
Christopher Brown, Scholars of Nature, Hull, 1981.

Haskell 1976
Francis Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art, 1976.

Herrmann 1972
Frank Herrmann, The English As Collectors, 1972.

Niemeijer 1965
J. W. Niemeijer, 'P. C. Wonder in Engeland' in Bulletin van het Rjksmuseum, 1965, no.3, pp 115-23.

Return (Pursuant to an Order of the House of Lords dated 13 July 1869) of All Pictures purchased for the National Gallery from the commencement to the Present Time ...

Scharf 1888
George Scharf, NPG Catalogue, 1888, II, pp 516-19.

Spielmann 1912
H. Spielmann, 'Pictures of Picture Galleries: John Scarlett Davis', Connoisseur, XXXIII, 1912, pp 215-22.

Staring 1924
A. Staring, 'Een Schotsch verzamelaar en de Nederlandsche Kunst', in Oud Holland, XLII, 1924, pp 1-12.

Physical descriptionback to top

Ellis stands to the left, with light brown curly hair, dark blue suit, brass buttons, black neckcloth. Grosvenor stands in the centre, grey brown hair bald on top, black tail-coat, grey trousers, black boots. On the floor in a gold frame is Phillips's portrait of the Marquess of Stafford (see NPG 1298), styled Stafford from 1803 until January 1833 when he was created Duke of Sutherland; he died in July of that year.

Provenanceback to top

Pieter Wonder and his family; offered on their behalf to the NPG by J. S. Coster, antiquarian dealer of Utrecht, and declined; Edward Joseph of 18 New Bond Street and given by him 14 May 1888.

Exhibitionsback to top

'Scholars of Nature', Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston-upon-Hull 1981 (45).


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 Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover

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