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

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, by Sir Francis Grant, 1853 -NPG 1121 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell

by Sir Francis Grant
79 1/4 in. x 44 in. (2013 mm x 1118 mm)
NPG 1121

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed in ink, on a damaged label on the back of the stretcher (referring to the RA exhibition of 1854): No. 1/Portrait of the .../John Russell .../Francis Gra[nt] .../No 27 Sussex-p[lace] .../Regents-[park]/Lo[ndon] ...
Also on the back is the VE exhibition label.

This portraitback to top

Russell is holding a paper inscribed, 'REFORM-BILL/1854'; the leather-bound book on the table is inscribed, 'STATE/PAPERS/1853', and one of the books on the chair, 'REPORT-RAMSGATE/H. C./1850'. No price is listed against the portrait in Grant's 'Sitters Book', so he may possibly have presented it to the sitter or his family. The portrait was engraved by J. Faed (erroneously inscribed 'Fade' on the print), published H. Graves, 1854 (example in NPG). A small oil study was in the collection of the Earl of Strafford, Wrotham. Another version, or possibly the same picture, was recorded in the collection of Lord Russell, Lord Stairs, 1875, by G. Scharf, Sir George Scharf's Sketch Books (NPG archives), XCII, 75.

Referenceback to top

Colnaghi and McKay 1868
[D. Colnaghi and A. McKay], Catalogue of Pictures, Miniatures, Drawings, and Busts at Woburn Abbey (1868), p CCXXII.

Sir F. Grant, 'Sitters Book' (copy of original MS, NPG archives), under 1853.

Scharf 1877
G. Scharf, Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures at Woburn Abbey (1877), p 167 (1889 and 1890 editions), p 179.

Tavistock and Russell 1890
A. M. Tavistock and E. M. S. Russell, Biographical Catalogue of the Pictures at Woburn Abbey (1890), I, 81-2.

Physical descriptionback to top

Sallow complexion, dark grey(?) eyes, brown hair. Dressed in a black stock and neck-tie, fastened by a gold and amber(?) pin, white shirt, black waistcoat, with a gold watch-chain, black trousers and coat. Standing in front of a red-covered table, with a brown book and white papers on the right. A black dispatch box and two green and blue books are on the gilt and red-covered chair on the right. Two white documents are on the floor. Background colour dark brown and sage.

Provenanceback to top

By descent to the 11th Duke of Bedford, and presented by him, 1898.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA, 1854 (193); Art Treasures of the United Kingdom, Manchester, 1857, 'Modern Masters' (580); VE, 1892 (119).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, 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 Francis Grant

View all known portraits for John Russell, 1st Earl Russell

Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

Visit now

Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

Explore the exhibition

Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

See the video