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John Michael Rysbrack

1 of 7 portraits of John Michael Rysbrack

John Michael Rysbrack, by John Vanderbank, circa 1728 -NPG 1802 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Michael Rysbrack

by John Vanderbank
circa 1728
49 1/2 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1257 mm x 1003 mm)
NPG 1802

This portraitback to top

NPG 1802 appears to be related to the engraving of 1734 by Faber junior with the same head lettered J. Vanderbank pinx. 1728. In the latter the sitter points with his left hand to a classical head different from the one in the oil and reminiscent of that shown in 'A Conversation of Virtuosis' by Gawen Hamilton; in his right hand he holds a pair of dividers, his elbow resting on the bust; the drapery is more prominent and the diagonal line has become a marked feature of the composition. An x-radiograph of NPG 1802 shows only a slight alteration in the bottom left-hand corner, suggesting that unless there are changes not revealed by x-radiograph, the engraving must be after a lost version.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, dark brown eyebrows, large nose, shaven head; reddish-brown velvet cap and velvet coat in deeper shade of brown, white shirt open at neck; his left elbow on a pedastal on which there is a classical female head, a rolled paper in his hand, in his right hand a porte-crayon, black cloth draped over his right forearm and behind his body; dark brown background.

Conservationback to top

The face is rubbed; buttonholing indistinct, some re-painting possibly by another hand.

Provenanceback to top

Bought through Leggatt's, Peel Heirlooms sale, Robinson, Fisher and Harding, 6 December 1917, lot 89; acquired, 1839, by Sir Robert Peel 'at Sir Wm Beechey's sale, Portrait of Rysbrack by Vanderbank for two Pounds!!'. [1]

1) Sir Robert Peel, Day Book, July 1839 (Surrey Record Office); also Mrs Jameson, Private Galleries of Art, 1844, p 377 (124).


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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