- Extended catalogue entry
Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue
by Unknown artist
23 in. x 21 in. (584 mm x 533 mm) oval
Inscriptionback to top
Inscribed centre left: Mr Henry Purcell.
This portraitback to top
Related to the Closterman drawing NPG 4994, yet the head with the curled fair hair appears younger and angelic, and the drapery perfunctory. The engraved ‘vera effigies’ showing Purcell aged 24, is already heavy-featured, implying that NPG 2150 is a posthumous, idealised portrait. This in turn would indicate the alleged provenance is partly inaccurate, i.e. it could not have been given by Purcell to John Church, who may rather have commissioned it.
Another version sold Sotheby’s, 18 June 1947, lot 25c, from the collection of G. W. Hastings of Great Malvern, was with H. M. Calmann in 1948. A version copied by Sylvester Harding was engraved by W. N. Gardiner 1794 as ‘Henry Purcell/Musician & Actor [sic]/From an Original Picture in Dulwich College’, where such a portrait has otherwise never been recorded.
Referenceback to top
W. H. Cummings, The Musical Times, 1 November 1895, p 735.
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 291.
Provenanceback to top
[said to have been given by the sitter to his friend, see below] John Church (1675?-1741), lay-vicar at Westminster Abbey and gentleman of the Chapels Royal; his eldest son, the Rev John Church (d. 1785), Rector of Boxford, Suffolk; his daughter Mrs Strutt, who gave it to Joah Bates (1741-99), conductor;1 Edward Bates; Alfred Henry Littleton by 1894; his sale, Elliot, Son & Boynton, 17 March 1915, lot 344a as by Kneller, bought William Barclay Squire,2 by whom bequeathed 1927 as by Kneller.
1 This provenance from a written statement signed by Joah Bates, formerly on the verso, partly legible and now separately conserved: [This] picture was given by Purcell himself to Mr J..a…../Westminster Abbey & a great friend of Purcell when he was Organist the[re]/[Fro]m Mr Church it descended to his son the Revd Mr Church vicar of Boxford in/Suffolk; whose daughter Mrs Strutt presented it to me. Mrs Strutt had often heard her/father declare that his father used frequently to say it was a striking likeness/JB/25 Novr 1790. With this label is a printed extract from W. H. Cummings, ‘Portraits of Purcell’, discussing NPG 2150 and annotated by Squire Bought/at the/sale/after/A. Littlejohn’s/death/17 March/1915/by/Wm Barclay Squire/WBS/The mem. pasted above [referring to the other label]/is by/Joah Bates/WBS.
2 For whom, see Perth NPG 2153.
Exhibitionsback to top
10 Downing Street 1990–95.
Reproductionsback to top
W. Humphrys ‘from a drawing by Edw. Novello after the original picture by Sir Godfrey Kneller in the possession of Edward Bates Esq.’ (for Vincent Novello’s ed. of Purcell’s Sacred Music, 1832).
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.
View all known portraits for Henry Purcell
Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs
Test your memory by playing our matching pairs game. Three levels of difficulty make it fun for the whole family.
Regency familiar faces
Rearrange tiles to uncover sitters from the Gallery's Collection by playing our puzzle game.
Who do you think you were?
Answer a few lifestyle questions about the elizabethan period and discover your inner Elizabethan!
- Searching for Shakespeare
- Brilliant Women
- Popular Prints of Victoria and Albert
- Nelson: before and after Trafalgar
- Making History: Printed Portraiture in Tudor and Stuart Britain
- Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
- Chartist Portraits
- Silhouettes display, 2004-05
- William Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age
- Return to Life: A New Look at the Portrait Bust
- Restoration Lives: Samuel Pepys and His Circle
- Theodore de Mayerne
- Mary, Queen of Scots: Fact and Fiction
- Mary, Queen of Scots
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project
- Rebel women
- 2019 Anniversaries
- Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs