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William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield

1 of 47 portraits by Jean Baptiste van Loo

William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, by Jean Baptiste van Loo, circa 1737 -NPG 474 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield

by Jean Baptiste van Loo
circa 1737
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
NPG 474

This portraitback to top

Van Loo’s portrait was described in 1797 by its first known owner, the barrister John Holliday, as being ‘in high preservation in the chambers of the Author ... in Lincoln’s Inn;’ full of ‘vivacity and spirit’, it showed ‘Mr Murray, when a young barrister, in his maiden bar gown, about the year 1734’. The engraving of 1797, listed above, is lettered: J. Bapt. Vanloo Pinxt.1732/The Honourable William Murray/Aetat 28. But Murray was 28 in 1737 and, since Van Loo only arrived in London in December 1737 (and left in October 1742), a date of 1737-38 seems likely. NPG 474 was attributed to Ramsay when first acquired. [1]
Versions are at Kenwood [2] and Scone Palace, the latter differing in detail, with his right index finger pointing and the left shoulder just visible. A portrait of Lord Mansfield ‘when a very young man beginning to study the Law ... without date or name’, conceivably of this pattern, was at Witley in 1796. [3]
Van Loo used the face mask for three other portraits of Murray.

Footnotesback to top

1) NPG cats.; first given to Van Loo in the 15th edition 1920.
2) Illus. English Heritage, Collections Review, III, 2001, p 47.
3) Musgrave MSS 6391, f.239v.

Referenceback to top

Holliday 1797
J. Holliday, Life of William late Earl of Mansfield, 1797, p 281.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, powdered wig, wearing white bands and a black ‘bar’ gown over a black coat.

Provenanceback to top

John Holliday (c.1730-1801), Lincoln’s Inn; Sir William Horne Kt (d. 1860), Lincoln’s Inn, by whom presented 1839 to the Hon Society of Judges and Serjeants-at-Law; presented by the Society 1877.

Exhibitionsback to top

The true resemblance of Lord Mansfield, Kenwood, 1971 (12).

Reproductionsback to top

J. Basire 1797 (for J. Holliday, Life of William late Earl of Mansfield, 1797).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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 William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield

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