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Unknown man, formerly known as Maurice Greene

1 of 3 portraits of Maurice Greene

Unknown man, formerly known as Maurice Greene, by Unknown artist, 1734 or after -NPG 2085 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Unknown man, formerly known as Maurice Greene

by Unknown artist
1734 or after
29 in. x 24 in. (737 mm x 610 mm)
NPG 2085

Inscriptionback to top

On the top bar of the stretcher a manuscript label reads: 27 April 1925/Portrait of Handel/(crossed through and Dr. Maurice Greene substituted) No 3 Case 1925/From Lady Anderson/The Manor Notgrove Bourton on Water Glos., and another label, older and nearly illegible: & Restored/-Thomas/-King St -/, with a pencil note, Bought from Chediston Hall Suffolk by [-]/1884.

This portraitback to top

Crudely painted, NPG 2085 was thought at one time to represent Handel. In 1909, however, Barclay Squire [1] identified the last two bars of music, top left, from Greene's Florimel composed 1737 (?) [2] for Love's Revenge (or Florimel and Myrtillo) by his friend John Hoadly (1711-76). Despite this link, identification remains uncertain. The iconographical content is low and the features are not easily reconciled with the one certain portrait in the Festing family, presumably descended through the marriage of Greene's only daughter to the Rev. Michael Festing, son of Michael Christian Festing who, with the sitter, was a founder of the Society of Musicians. If the sitter is not Greene, the allusion to Florimel has yet to be explained. The hint of a very big cuff suggests a date in the mid-'thirties.

Footnotesback to top

1) Transcript and correspondence, NPG picture dossier.
2) Said to have been performed at the Gloucester Festival, 1745.

Physical descriptionback to top

Grey eyes, arched dark grey eyebrows, long curved nose, rather pale complexion, grey wig; white cravat, dark green coat and waistcoat with lace and reddish-gold buttons; in an open stone cartouche with manuscript music top left and right, the former lettered Fl[orimel] below the second stave; brown background, lit from the left.

Conservationback to top

Old repaints now discoloured in the wig and some small damages to the background; perished varnish; some bituminous craquelure in the darks.

Provenanceback to top

Given, 1925, by Sir Alan Garrett Anderson who stated his mother had bought it in Suffolk some thirty years before. This would tally with the inscription Chediston Hall ..., [1] the house in the vicinity of Halesworth, held in the 1740s and 1750s by the Plumer family. At the time of purchase, [2] the picture was owned, through a somewhat complicated descent, by a Mr Thomas Rant. [3]

1) W. A. Copinger, Manors of Suffolk, 1905-11, II, 1908, under Barents.
2) Sale catalogue not traced.
3) Information from Miss D. M. White, Ipswich County Library.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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 Maurice Greene


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