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Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (Lord Castlereagh)

Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (Lord Castlereagh), by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1809-1810 -NPG 891 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (Lord Castlereagh)

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
1809-1810
29 1/4 in. x 24 1/4 in. (743 mm x 616 mm)
NPG 891

This portraitback to top

The portrait was formerly assumed to have been a present from Castlereagh to his old friend Clancarty but accounts in the Clancarty family records reveal it to have been a purchase, Clancarty paying Lawrence £45 in two equal instalments, the last dated 27 January 1810 (letter from his great-great-grandson, the Hon Greville Le Poer Trench, 15 November 1961 in NPG archive). It was exhibited RA 1810 when Hazlitt denigrated it in 'The Catalogue Raisonné' as being '... in a fashionable coat, with his hair dressed in the fashion, in a genteel posture like one of his footmen, and with the prim smirking aspect of a haberdasher' (Works, IX, p 315). Copies are at Chatham House, Travellers' Club and (by Egan) at Wynyard Park. Lawrence painted three other portraits of Castlereagh, exhibited RA 1794, 1814 and 1821 (Kenneth Garlick, ‘Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’ in Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, 1964, p 123-30).
The 1814 version was the subject of a diatribe by Hazlitt in the Morning Chronicle, 3 May 1814, attacking the insipidity of Lawrence's portraits in general and the Castlereagh one in particular: '... it is not a likeness. It has a smug, upstart, haberdasher look, of which there is nothing in Lord Castlereagh. The air of the whole figure is direct and forward; there is nothing, as there ought to be, characteristically circuitous, involved and parenthetical in it …' (Hazlitt, Works, vol.18, p 18).

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length facing in reddish-brown top-coat with grey fur collar over dark brown coat, white waistcoat, neckcloth and shirt-frill; grey powdered hair, hazel eyes, fresh complexion; dark background with column and yellow-brown curtain right.

Provenanceback to top

Commissioned by Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty; Clancarty sale Christie's 12 March 1892 (48) bought Agnew for the NPG.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1810 (61); 'Great Britain - USSR', Arts Council, 1967.

Reproductionsback to top

Stipple by Meyer for Contemporary Portraits, 1814 (example with Castlereagh's autograph in NPG).


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 Sir Thomas Lawrence

View all known portraits for Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (Lord Castlereagh)

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