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Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope, by Jonathan Richardson, circa 1738 -NPG 561 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Alexander Pope

attributed to Jonathan Richardson
circa 1738
17 3/8 in. x 14 3/8 in. (441 mm x 365 mm)
NPG 561

This portraitback to top

NPG 561 is a poor version of a number of oils of the type, the best being at Petworth from the collection of, and probably commissioned by, Richard Mead, [1] presumably the portrait mentioned by Pope in his letter to Richardson of 4 January 1737/38: ‘... I will come to you to morrow by eleven, to sit till one if you please for ye Dr's Picture'. [2] NPG 561 is close to a drawing dated 1734 in the possession of Roger Warner as well as to another in the Royal collection, Windsor Castle [3] and three etchings showing the sitter in fur collar, the last dated 1738 and lettered OYTOS EKEIONOS. [4]
For fuller details of Richardson's profile portraits, see All Known Portraits, and Wimsatt. [5]

Footnotesback to top

1) W. K. Wimsatt, The Portraits of Alexander Pope, 1965, p 206, pl.52.1.
2) Ibid, p 205.
3) Ibid, p 172, pls.24, 25.
4) Ibid, pp 194-95.
5) Ibid, pp 205-22.

Physical descriptionback to top

Profile; brown eye, dark brown eyebrow, brown hair greying at temples, sallow complexion; brown gown with brown fur collar; brown background.

Conservationback to top

Surface cleaned and varnished 1879; lined 1887.

Provenanceback to top

Transferred, 1879, from the British Museum to whom presented by Francis Annesley, 1794.

Reproductionsback to top

The Petworth portrait was engraved by T. Holloway, 1797, for Joseph Warton's edition of the Works of Pope, vol. 1.


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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