The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1795 -NPG 3631 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Horace Walpole

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
10 1/8 in. x 7 3/4 in. (257 mm x 197 mm)
NPG 3631

Inscriptionback to top

The previous mount was inscribed in an early 19th-century hand: Horace Walpole Earl of Orford/by Sir Thos Lawrence.

This portraitback to top

Lysons considered it ‘a most characteristic and excellent likeness’, [1] and Lord Glenbervie wrote of Evans's engraving that 'It is a head, a mere outline, but the most striking likeness I ever saw, for the features and expression'. [2] A copy by Harriet Elizabeth Onslow 1797 is in the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.
Farington recorded (Joseph Farington, Diary, 18 August 1795) that at this time Lawrence intended ‘to draw & form a collection’ of distinguished persons and that 'Lord Orford is the first He has made, with this view'.

Footnotesback to top

1) D. Lysons, Environs of London, II, 1810 ed., p 783n61.
2) Lord Glenbervie, Diaries, 1928, I, p 140.

Referenceback to top

Adams & Lewis 1970
C. K. Adams & W. S. Lewis, 'The Portraits of Horace Walpole', Wal. Soc., XLII, 1970, A13.2.

Garlick 1964
K. Garlick, ‘A Catalogue of the paintings, drawings and pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’, Wal. Soc., XXXIX, 1964, p 239.

Provenanceback to top

Samuel Lysons (1763-1819); Lysons sale, Knowles, Gloucester, 21 April 1887, lot 317, bought Sir Spencer Walpole (d. 1907); presented by his daughter Mrs Maud C. Holland 1948.

Exhibitionsback to top

A Candidate for Praise, William Mason 1723-97, Precentor of York, 1973 (43); British Portraits, Tokyo, 1975-76; Hyenas in Petticoats, Dove Cottage, The Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, 1997 (17).

Reproductionsback to top

T. Evans 1798, inscribed T. Lawrence R.A. ad vivum del. 1796 (for Walpole's Works); H. Meyer from a drawing by W. Evans 1811; J. Thomson 1822.

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 Sir Thomas Lawrence

View all known portraits for Horatio ('Horace') Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford


Our channel

View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.

Sit back and watch

Artist and sitter interviews

Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

Explore behind the scenes

Sleeping Awake

Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

Hear our story