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William Gilpin

William Gilpin, by Henry Walton, 1781 -NPG 4418 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Gilpin

by Henry Walton
10 in. x 8 in. (254 mm x 203 mm)
NPG 4418

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated, bottom left: H. Walton/1781.

This portraitback to top

When Clint’s mezzotint was published in 1805, the Monthly Magazine declared that it gave ‘a very strong resemblance to the original, as the countenance is animated, and the general effect interesting; considered as a whole, it is a very well engraved mezzotinto’. [1] A miniature copy by William Sherlock, dated 1783 or 1785, [2] remains with the sitter’s descendants, and several miniature copies were made for the family by Mrs R. G. Benson (20th century); [3] a full-size copy is in Tullie House, Carlisle. [4]
Evelyn Bell [5] suggested that NPG 4418 is a smaller version of a ‘larger portrait’ engraved by Clint, [6] now lost, but sharing the same provenance up to E. F. Benson; but Clint’s figure appears identical with that in NPG 4418.

Footnotesback to top

1) Monthly Mag., XX, 1805, p 361.
2) Sherlock also painted William’s brother, Sawrey Gilpin, c.1785, see NPG 4328.
3) See C. P. Barbier, Gilpin, 1963, p 87.
4) Illus. Cumberland Artists, 1971, p 6; C. P. Barbier, Samuel Rogers and William Gilpin, 1959, front.
5) E. Bell, 'Life and Work of Henry Walton', Gainsborough's House Review 1999, no.69.
6) The engraving illus. W. D. Templeman, William Gilpin, 1939, front. C. P. Barbier, Gilpin, 1963, p 87n, refers to the ‘good engraving after the original portrait’.

Referenceback to top

Bell 1999
E. Bell, 'Life and Work of Henry Walton', Gainsborough's House Review 1999, no.68.

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue eyes, fair hair, wearing a white collar, dark grey coat and black vest, his right hand on a stick. Within a painted oval.

Provenanceback to top

[passed from the sitter’s second son, the Rev W. Gilpin (d. 1848); to his eldest son C. B. Gilpin (d. 1891), to his niece Elizabeth Mary Gilpin, to her son E. B. Benson (d. 1940) and to his nephew F. A. G. Benson (b. 1883), from whom stolen c.1945]; E. J. Duckett, Sevenoaks, c.1945; J. Maas, London, from whom purchased 1964.

Exhibitionsback to top

Maas Gallery, Nov.-Dec. 1964 (120); The Arrogant Connoisseur, Manchester, 1984 (198).

Reproductionsback to top

G. Clint 1805 (as Painted by H. Walton Esqr ... Engraved by G. Clint/From a Picture, the only one Painted in the Year 1781 - & in the possession of Mrs Gilpin); G. Measom 1851.

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