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Thomas Grenville

Thomas Grenville, by Camille Manzini, 1841 -NPG 517 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Grenville

by Camille Manzini
1841
5 in. x 3 in. (127 mm x 76 mm) oval
NPG 517

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated in red paint left centre: C. Manzini 17 maggio 1841

This portraitback to top

The miniature shows Grenville at the age of 86 and, judging from Comolli's marble bust in the Grenville Library which shows him totally bald, he wears a close-fitting black wig. The miniaturist Camillo Manzini had been one of the Carbonari of Modena during the upheavals of 1820-1 (Constance Brooks, Antonio Panizzi, 1931, p 6) and had fled the country with Panizzi, eventually finding his way to England where Panizzi introduced him to Grenville then collecting his famous library. The miniature was painted in May 1841 and at Grenville's death in 1846 it became the subject of a raffle initiated by Panizzi who was anxious that it should not fall into unworthy hands. Tickets were only sold among a select few, the winner apparently, from the inscription on the engraving, being Panizzi himself. Samuel Rogers, one of the chosen to be offered a ticket, said 'to tell you the truth, the portrait I do not care for; I had rather trust to my recollections' and suggested a drawing by Richmond instead (Louis Fagan, Life of Sir Anthony Panizzi, KCB, 1880, pp 278-9). Panizzi however treasured it, commissioning the engraving as a private plate, and shortly before his death in April 1879 asked his biographer and colleague at the British Museum, Louis Fagan, to offer it to the NPG for 20 guineas. It was accepted by the Trustees in February (letters from Fagan in NPG archive).

Physical descriptionback to top

Nearly half-length facing in dark blue coat with black collar, white neckcloth, dark close-fitting wig, bushy eyebrows, vivid blue eyes, sunken cheeks, alert expression; plain grey background.

Provenanceback to top

Thomas Grenville; Sir Anthony Panizzi; Louis Fagan and bought from him 1879.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1842 (931).

Reproductionsback to top

Mixed stipple and line by the artist lettered: C Manzini May 17 1841/Thomas Grenville [facsimile of signature]/Born 31 Decr 1755/Private Plate/From a Miniature in the possession of Anthony Panizzi Esqr. (Panizzi was created KCB in 1869.)


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.

View all known portraits for Thomas Grenville

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