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Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay

8 of 26 portraits of Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay

by Sir Francis Grant
1853
11 3/4 in. x 10 in. (298 mm x 254 mm)
NPG 453

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed (on the back): The Hon/T. B. Macaulay/by F. Grant/done from life

This portraitback to top

In a letter of 7 May 1877 (NPG archives), Grant wrote: 'The small picture is the original design for the life size head painted for the late Speaker. But I always thought this small picture the best likeness of the two.' The finished portrait is listed in Grant's 'Sitters Book', under the year 1853, exhibited RA, 1854 (69), and SKM, 1868 (463), lent by its original owner, the Rt Hon J. E. Denison, later Viscount Ossington. It was engraved by J. Paed (example in NPG). Macaulay records several sittings for the portrait in his 'Journal' (Trinity College, Cambridge) for May and June 1853; he thought the finished work 'excellent'.
Correspondence from the artist, Stirling-Maxwell and others relating to the portrait and its purchase is in the NPG archives. After buying the portrait, Stirling-Maxwell asked to keep it for a short time in order to have it copied. On his death in January 1878 it was still in his possession, and did not enter the collection until October 1880.

Referenceback to top

Sir F. Grant, 'Sitters Book' (copy of original MS, NPG archives).

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, grey hair. Dressed in a dark stock, white shirt, brown waistcoat and black coat. Seated in a wooden chair. Background colour brown.

Provenanceback to top

The artist; purchased from the Grosvenor Gallery Exhibition of 1877 by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, Bart, and presented by him, 1877.

Exhibitionsback to top

Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, 1877 (48); Centenary Exhibition, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, 1968.

Reproductionsback to top

J. Steegman, 'Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A.: The Artist in High Society', Apollo, LXXIX (1964), 485.


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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