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William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland

1 of 5 portraits of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland

William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, circa 1699, based on a work of 1698-1699 -NPG 1968 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland

studio of Hyacinthe Rigaud
circa 1699, based on a work of 1698-1699
55 in. x 46 1/4 in. (1397 mm x 1175 mm)
NPG 1968

This portraitback to top

NPG 1968 is a high-quality studio repetition of the portrait at Welbeck painted in 1698-99 [1] (when Portland was in Paris as Ambassador extraordinary), but omitting the red sash tied round his waist with an extravagant bow. Two replicas were commissioned by Portland, for Matthew Prior [2] and for Mme de Meyercroon (wife of the Danish ambassador in Paris). Rigaud’s accounts confirm that two copies were made in 1698-99 [3] and correspondence preserved at Longleat reveals how Prior, acting for Lord Portland, had difficulty with that ‘stuttering rogue Rygault’ in making him finish them. [4] Though neither has been certainly identified, it seems possible that NPG 1968 may, despite the omission of the sash, have been the copy made for Prior which passed after his death to his daughter, the Duchess of Kent.
Other versions (each with the red sash) include:
Bass Museum, Miami Beach, from the Viscount Hampden sale, Christie’s, 29 May 1959, lot 96.
Christie’s, 29 June 1979, lot 85, from Stratfield Saye.
Fountaine family, Narford. Exhibited Second Special Exhibition of National Portraits ( ... William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington, 1867, no.5, lent Andrew Fountaine; offered for sale Christie’s, 7 July 1894, lot 40, described as ‘a present to Sir Andrew Fountaine [1676-1753], who was with him when he was ambassador at Hanover’, bought in.
National Trust, exhibited Kings in Conflict, Belfast, 1990, no.169 illus.
Goulding also listed [5] a version with Frau von Krosigk (a family descendant) at Helmarshausen in 1912 and two copies commissioned by the Duke of Portland from Dorofield Hardy, one of 1911 given to the Queen of Holland, the other of 1914 given to the Marquess of Londonderry. A half-length copy is at Middachten Castle.
The composition was frequently used by Rigaud. [6]

Footnotesback to top

1) R. W. Goulding, Catalogue of Pictures belonging to … the Duke of Portland …, C. K. Adams ed., 1936, no.148, the background by J. Parrocel (J. Roman ed., Le livre de raison du peintre Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1919, p 64).
2) H. Bunker Wright & H. C. Montgomery, ‘The Art Collection of a Virtuoso in eighteenth-century England’, Art Bulletin, XXVII, 1945, p 202, no.78.
3) J. Roman ed., Le livre de raison du peintre Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1919, pp 64, 68, 75: Milord Portland et milord son fils. Le fonds de J. Parrocel, and two copies.
4) HMC Longleat, III, 1908, pp 269, 276, 315, 339.
5) R. W. Goulding, Catalogue of Pictures belonging to … the Duke of Portland …, C. K. Adams ed., 1936, p 59.
6) Examples all with the red sash include Louis de France (c.1697; priv. coll.), called the comte de Gacé (1697, Caen, musée des Beaux Arts) and called the comte de Thieux (1694; priv coll., USA); see S. Perreau, Hyacinthe Rigaud, 2004, pp 200-03, figs 175-77. Another, of François de Reynolds (priv. coll., Fribourg), illus. Revue de la Société Suisse des Amis de Versailles, avril 1959, p 5.

Referenceback to top

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 283.

Welbeck 1936
R. W. Goulding, Catalogue of Pictures belonging to … the Duke of Portland …, C. K. Adams ed., pp 59, 375.

Provenanceback to top

[probably passed to the sitter’s daughter, Sophie, Duchess of Kent, thence by descent to 1st Earl Brownlow who married 1810 her great granddaughter] his sister Viscount Alford (1812-51) of Ashridge Park;1 2nd Earl Brownlow (d. 1921); purchased 1922.

1 MS label verso: Viscount Alford.

Exhibitionsback to top

William III and his Private Life, Hampton Court Palace, 1992.


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685–1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, 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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