Sir John Fielding
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
Sir John Fielding
by Nathaniel Hone
49 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1245 mm x 1003 mm)
Inscriptionback to top
Signed, lower left: N Hone 1762.
This portraitback to top
The earlier history of NPG 5515 is not completely established, but it was presumably the portrait exhibited by Hone in 1762. By 1866 it belonged to the Royal Female Orphanage, a charity originally founded in Lambeth (as the Female Orphan Asylum) by Fielding in 1758, when he became a governor of the Magdalen Hospital. The pamphlet in his hand probably refers to his Account of the Origin and Effects of a Police ..., published in 1758, which had appended a first plan for the rescue of ‘deserted girls’. NPG 5515 also celebrated Fielding’s knighthood, an honour he had solicited in 1757, and received from the King on 1 October 1761. 
Footnotesback to top
Physical descriptionback to top
White hair, a dark blue band above his sightless eyes; he wears a white collar and neckcloth, a blue-grey coat with gold trim, a gold embroidered waistcoat, black breeches and white stockings; he holds a light-blue-covered pamphlet in his left hand and there is a ruby ring on the little finger of his right hand; the chair is green; on the table a black leather-bound book lettered in gold HOLY BIBLE and a calf-bound book lettered in gold in a red panel STATUTES/AT LARGE/VOL.1/ and in a green panel MAGNA CHARTA HENR.
Provenanceback to top
[Female Orphan Asylum, later the Royal Female Orphanage, Lambeth] Royal Female Orphan Asylum, Beddington, by 1866;1 placed in storage with the Whitgift Foundation, Croydon, 1945-52; purchased from the Royal Female Orphanage by the friends of C. F. Bell and presented 1952.2
1 Where the portrait was noticed by H. F. B. Compston, The Magdalen Hospital, 1917, p 41.
2 On his eightieth birthday, a number of Bell’s friends had given him a sum of money to acquire a work of art to be presented to a gallery of his choice. Bell had been a Trustee of the NPG 1910-40.
Exhibitionsback to top
Probably Society of Artists, London, 1762 (39 Sir John Fielding, half length); Casanova, Venice, 1998-99 (163).
Reproductionsback to top
J. McArdell (before 1765).1
1 McArdell died in 1765; his print differs only in the placing of the titles on the books, and in the added words Plan of to the scroll.
This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.