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Probably William Somerville

3 of 3514 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Pencil'

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Probably William Somerville

by George White
1709
4 3/8 in. x 3 3/8 in. (111 mm x 86 mm) oval
NPG 1873

Inscriptionback to top

Signed: G White fec:/1709.

This portraitback to top

The sitter looks rather young for 1709 and comparison with authentic likenesses is not convincing. Somerville is usually portrayed with sharply defined eyebrows, pouches under the eyes, a much finer nose and no cleft to his chin. The grounds for the old identification are not apparent. George White (1684?-1732), an engraver and painter who studied under his father Robert White for whom he also later worked, was a competent artist not known to have had any particular connection with the world of letters. Although enjoying a considerable reputation in his day, White was little known by the turn of the century. The answer may lie with the collector Alfred A. de Pass, who also gave the portrait of Pope (q.v., NPG 1179). He did not, however, supply any supporting evidence.

Physical descriptionback to top

Eyebrows slightly arched, strong curved nose, thin upper lip, cleft chin, wig centre-parted falling to below shoulders and down back; cravat with fringe, coat with three clasps, the top two unfastened; lit from the left, background lighter on the right.

Conservationback to top

Restored, 1920.

Provenanceback to top

Presented, 1920, by Alfred A. de Pass; previous history not known.


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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