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George Keith, 10th Earl Marischal and his groom, possibly Ibrahim

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George Keith, 10th Earl Marischal and his groom, possibly Ibrahim, by Placido Costanzi, circa 1733 -NPG 552 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Keith, 10th Earl Marischal and his groom, possibly Ibrahim

attributed to Placido Costanzi
circa 1733
17 3/8 in. x 12 5/8 in. (442 mm x 321 mm)
NPG 552

Inscriptionback to top

An inscription, now illegible, on a stone, bottom right, might be a signature and date.

This portraitback to top

A portrait by Costanzi with a copy of it apparently being made for him by Mosman [1] are mentioned by the sitter in 1733 when he was on a mission to Madrid for the 'Old Pretender'. A small whole length on copper with the same date in the Kintore collection, Keith Hall, is unlikely to be by Mosman who is known to have worked only on canvas. It is without signature and close to NPG 552 and may have been at Keith Hall since 1764 when Marischal re-purchased the house following reversal of the attainder of 1719. Both portraits are perhaps by the same hand.
No evidence is known to support the view of Scharf [2] and Caw [3] that NPG 552 may have been painted in Rome as late as 1752. The castle in the background is the family seat of Dunothar, near Stonehaven. The black groom is probably Ibraham described by Voltaire [4] as 'a sort of Tartar footman who has the honour of being a heathen' in the retinue of the Earl Marischal. A life-size head and shoulders of the sitter, unattributed but evidently related to NPG 552 is at Meldrum House, Aberdeenshire. Placido Costanzi, a pupil of Benedetto Luti, died in Rome, 1759.

Footnotesback to top

1) RA Stuart Papers, Windsor, correspondence kindly communicated by the Hon. Miss Clare Stuart-Wortley, 1942.
2) Sir George Scharf, Historical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures, Busts & etc. in the National Portrait Gallery, new and enlarged edition, 1888 p 255.
3) J. L. Caw, Scottish Portraits, 1903, II, pp 10-12.
4) NPG archives, picture dossier.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes and eyebrows, long nose, short white wig or hair; red cloak lined with ermine over suit of armour, buttoned gaiters, a baton in his right hand; beside him a Negro boy holding the bridle of a prancing horse; helmet and shield, left foreground, the latter inscribed PLACIT [VERI] TAS VINCIT, a castle and cavalry battle in background.

Conservationback to top

Cleaned, restored and varnished, 1879 and 1895.

Provenanceback to top

Transferred, 1879, from the British Museum to whom presented by Lord Glenbervie.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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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