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William Alexander Baillie Hamilton

7 of 63 portraits by Stephen Pearce

William Alexander Baillie Hamilton, by Stephen Pearce, 1850 -NPG 908 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

William Alexander Baillie Hamilton

by Stephen Pearce
15 1/4 in. x 12 3/4 in. (387 mm x 324 mm)
NPG 908

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed in the artist's hand on a damaged label (formerly on the back of the picture): ... Secretary of the Admiralty/the original Study, painted for the/ Historical Picture of the Arctic Council,/by Stephen Pearce./1851.

This portraitback to top

This is a study for Pearce's group, 'The Arctic Council' (NPG 1208), as well as an autonomous portrait in its own right. The pose of the head and features are identical in both, but in the group Hamilton is shown standing, three-quarter length, with his right hand stroking his chin, and his left hand supporting his right elbow, rather than reading a document as in this study. The document is entitled, 'From Dr Rae/relative to the Coppermine River/& across to/Victoria Land'; this refers to John Rae's search for Sir John Franklin between the Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers, 1848-9. In a 'Memorandum' of c.1899 (NPG archives), Pearce dated this study to 1850; the date inscribed on the label presumably refers to the finished group.

Physical descriptionback to top

Light blue eyes, light brown hair and whiskers. Dressed in a dark grey stock, white shirt, dark grey waistcoat and coat. Seated in a red-covered armchair, reading a white document. Background colour light greenish-brown.

Provenanceback to top

Commissioned or purchased by Lady Franklin, and bequeathed by her niece, Miss Sophia Cracroft, in accordance with the wishes of her aunt, 1892.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, 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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