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Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan

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- subject matching 'Uniforms'

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan

by Henri-Pierre Danloux
30 in. x 24 1/2 in. (762 mm x 622 mm)
NPG 1084

This portraitback to top

Danloux, a refugee from the French Revolution, settled in London January 1792 and managed to set up a moderately successful portrait practice working in the manner of Beechey and Romney. Two portraits of Duncan by him are known, the earliest (NPG 1084) showing him as Rear-Admiral and therefore before February 1793, the date of his appointment as Vice-Admiral and C.-in-C. North Sea. It must be one of Danloux's earliest English portraits painted during the year of his arrival though there is no mention of a sitting in his Journal (MS in V&A Museum). He does not show Duncan's famous double ring, worn as a result of the little finger being broken in an Edinburgh affray on 5 June 1792. This may indicate simply an artistic oversight though it could pinpoint the sitting to the first five months of 1792. A similar portrait of Admiral Keith is at Meikleour. The second Danloux portrait of Duncan is in the Scottish NPG and shows him at Camperdown, sitting smiling on the breech of a carronade. In this he wears admiral's undress uniform and the Star of St Alexander Nevski (awarded after Camperdown); it was engraved in mezzotint by J. R. Smith and published by Danloux himself 1 May 1800. Both portraits are fairly obvious studio posings probably painted in London. Danloux also celebrated Duncan's victory with an enormous painting of Britannia crowning the Admiral's coat of arms with laurel in which Duncan's daughter Jane posed for the figure of Britannia (at Bargany).

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length standing on quarterdeck with telescope in red and white striped case, rear-admiral's undress uniform; blue eyes, brown unkempt hair, dark complexion, resolute expression. Pentimento of an alteration to the telescope which originally extended a further 6 cm.

Provenanceback to top

Bought from Shepherd Bros 1897.

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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