- Extended catalogue entry
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Regency Portraits Catalogue
by Margaret Gillies
8 7/8 in. x 5 7/8 in. (+) uneven
Inscriptionback to top
The velvet covered backing has a frame-maker's gold seal: J & W Vokins, 5 John St. Oxford St. and the artist's label written in ink: Property of Revd Alfred Ainger given by M Gillies/LEIGH HUNT/Margaret Gillies R.W.S./Property of the Artist (in registered packet 1267 in NPG archive).
This portraitback to top
Judging from the sitter's apparent youthfulness the portrait must have been moderately flattering, a trait characteristic of the artist's work. Margaret Gillies wrote to Hunt on 17 July 1838 '... will you now allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to make a request of you which I wished to have made last night but had not the courage. It is that you will permit me to paint a picture of yourself ...' Hunt agreed but was unreliable about appointments. The portrait was exhibited at the RA the next year but was not finally completed till 1846 (Richard Russell, 'The Portraiture of Leigh Hunt' in Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin, X, 1959, p 8).
Physical descriptionback to top
Three-quarter-length leaning against a stone pedestal, voluminous purple cloak over a black suit, large purple bow-tie, white shirt; thick grey hair, large grey eyes.
Provenanceback to top
Given by the artist to Canon Alfred Ainger and by him to the NPG 1900.
Exhibitionsback to top
RA, 1839 (7).
Reproductionsback to top
Woodcuts in The Eclectic Magazine November 1846 and The People's Journal, 1846.
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