3 of 11 portraits of James Henry Leigh Hunt
- Extended catalogue entry
Regency Portraits Catalogue
by Samuel Laurence
44 in. x 35 5/8 in. (1118 mm x 905 mm)
This portraitback to top
Samuel Laurence married Anastasia Gliddon, a cousin of Leigh Hunt adopted as a sister by Thornton Hunt. They knew each other for a long time and though the portrait is traditionally dated 1837 it would seem from his apparent age to be earlier. It was thought by both Thornton and Walter Hunt (son and grandson) to be 'by far the best existing portrait' (Autobiography of Leigh Hunt, 2 vols., ed. Roger Ingpen, 1903, p 272). Lot 168 in the Laurence studio sale at Puttick's 12 June 1884, 'Leight Hunt, finished picture, and 2 studies', is accompanied in the NPG copy of the catalogue, annotated by Scharf, by a letter from Essie Laurence to Mr Stephens 27 June 1884 thanking him for his trouble and saying that the Leigh Hunt among other portraits remained unsold. Presumably they remained in the family thereafter. A study (possibly one of the unsold ones) was reproduced in R. B. Johnson's Essays and Poems of Leigh Hunt, 1891.
Physical descriptionback to top
Three-quarter-length seated to left in a black suit, reading a book; thick brown wavy hair, light brown eyes, pale complexion; plain reddish-brown background, the chair and hands unfinished.
Provenanceback to top
The artist and unsold in the sale of his effects at Puttick & Simpson 12 June 1884 (168); lent by his daughter to the Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph, New Gallery, 1891, presumably acquired shortly afterwards by Walter Leigh Hunt and given to the NPG by the poet's great-grandson's widow, Mrs Leigh Hunt, in 1931.
Exhibitionsback to top
Third Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1868 (290) lent by Samuel Laurence; Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph, New Gallery, 1890-1 (251) lent by Miss Laurence.
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 James Henry Leigh Hunt
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On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery