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Henry Fuseli

Henry Fuseli, by John Opie, exhibited 1794 -NPG 744 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Henry Fuseli

by John Opie
exhibited 1794
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 635 mm)
NPG 744

Inscriptionback to top

An old paper label stuck to back of canvas reads: Picture of Henry Fuseli Esq./Keeper of the Rl Academy/Painted by/John Opie Esqre R.A.

This portraitback to top

The portrait shows Fuseli aged about 50 and was probably painted in the early 1790s. It was exhibited RA 1794 and according to letters in the Gallery archive hung in Fuseli's drawing-room in Somerset House until his death in 1825. Mrs Fuseli died a few years later bequeathing it to her friend Harriet, second wife of the Rev Earl of Guilford, Rector of Alresford and St Mary's Southampton. At her death it was acquired by a kinswoman, Lady North, and thus to the NPG.

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length to right in a painted oval; green coat, white shirt-frill; shock of white hair, grey eyes, pale complexion; brownish-red background in a brown painted oval.

Provenanceback to top

Fuseli himself, bequeathed by his widow to Lady Guilford who died 1874; Lady North who died 1884 and given by her widower and son, Colonel J. S. North MP and Lord North in 1885.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1794 (29) as 'A Gentleman' and identified as Fuseli by Algernon Graves; 'John Opie R.A.', Plymouth City Art Gallery, 1957 (54); 'Henry Fuseli 1741-1825', Hamburg, Tate Gallery and Petit Palais, Paris, 1974-5 (1).

Reproductionsback to top

Small stipple engraving by Ridley, plate to The Monthly Mirror 31 January 1801.

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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