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Jonathan Richardson

Jonathan Richardson, by Jonathan Richardson, circa 1729 -NPG 706 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Jonathan Richardson

by Jonathan Richardson
circa 1729
29 in. x 24 3/4 in. (737 mm x 629 mm)
NPG 706

Inscriptionback to top

The date, bottom right, visible in strong raking light, reads: 29 July 1729/22 Jan./Feb 27 (or 17).

This portraitback to top

Scharf claimed that NPG 706 was signed and on comparison with the self-portrait with own hair etched in 1738 (F. O'Donoghue and Sir Henry M. Hake, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits ... in the British Museum, 1908-25, 1) he dated it to that year. [1] The etching, however, relates more convincingly to a small-scale oil, not known to Scharf, in the Lindsay collection, Colstoun. Like the companion portrait of Pope painted in 1742 (see Alexander Pope, All Known Portraits) it is a late type and was still at Dalhousie Castle in 1861. A red chalk head formerly attributed to Arthur Pond, British Museum (ECM 9), [2] is similar in pose to NPG 706 although the sitter looks younger. The black chalk drawing (ECM 2) dated by the artist 13 July 1728 also has affinities with this portrait. The drawings bear the JR stamp [3] of the sitter's collection but neither is likely to be a study for NPG 706.

Footnotesback to top

1) Sir George Scharf, Historical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures, Busts & etc. in the National Portrait Gallery, new and enlarged edition, 1888, p 377.
2) E. Croft-Murray's Catalogue of British Drawings (vol II), MS kindly made available by the author; cited here as ECM.
3) F. Lugt, Les Marques de Collections, 1921-56, 2184; W. K. Wimsatt, The Portraits of Alexander Pope, 1965, pp 151-52.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark blue eyes, heavy medium-brown eyebrows, strong cheek colour, two warts (?) below lower lip; black velvet cap, white neck-cloth and neck-tie, black coat; plain background.

Conservationback to top

Painted on coarse twill canvas; two old stoppings, background right; cleaned and polished, 1883 and 1895.

Provenanceback to top

Bought, 1883, from Graves, previous history unknown; possibly one of the heads noted by Vertue in 1751 'at MR JonathN Richardson son of the painter. several pictures and paintings of the familys pictures - of himself the old man a painter. one excellent one a half length Genteel. Gentleman-like natural action and habit - several other heads of himself ...'. [1] NPG 706 is also consistent with an item in the son's sale, Langford's, 18 February 1772, lot 77: 'Richardson sen. - His own portrait 3 qrs.'. Lot 45 was also a self-portrait. Lot 77 is the only one described as three-quarters (i.e. on a three-quarters canvas, approximately 30 x 25 in.).

1) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, 1930-55, III, p 159.

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.

View all known portraits for Jonathan Richardson


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