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John Bird Sumner

John Bird Sumner, by Margaret Sarah Carpenter, circa 1852 -NPG 3975 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

John Bird Sumner

by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
circa 1852
32 in. x 25 7/8 in. (813 mm x 657 mm)
NPG 3975

This portraitback to top

The pose of the head in this portrait is very similar to the 1839 portrait-type by Mrs Carpenter, but it shows Sumner as an older man, with greyer hair. The 1839 portrait is listed in the artist's 'Account Book' (copy of original MS, NPG archives), pp 26 and 28, under 1838 and 1839, exhibited RA, 1839 (1176), engraved by S. Cousins, published J. Seacome, Chester, and Ackermann, 1840 (example in NPG). There are three identical three-quarter length versions of the type, and it is not clear whether no.1 or 2 is the original:
1 Bishop's House, Chester. Probably the portrait offered to the NPG, 1880, sketched by Scharf, Sir George Scharf's Trustees' Sketch Books
(NPG archives), XXVII, 65, who records that it was signed and dated '1834' (the '4' presumably being a misreading for '9'). No signature or date are now visible on the picture, but it has been cut down and is in poor condition.
2 University College, Durham.
3 Lambeth Palace, London. Signed and dated '1842'. Presumably the portrait exhibited SKM, 1868 (380), lent by the Rev J. H. R. Sumner.
A different three-quarter length portrait-type, showing Sumner as an older man, was engraved by J. R. Jackson (example in British Museum). It was probably this portrait which was exhibited RA, 1852 (317).

Referenceback to top

NPG Annual Report, 1955-6 (1956), p 7.

Physical descriptionback to top

Healthy complexion, brown eyes, grey hair. Dressed in a high white collar, dark green clerical under-garment and black coat. Background colour dark brown.

Provenanceback to top

By descent to Dr Ronald Carter, whose wife was the great-granddaughter of the sitter, and presented by him, 1956.


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 John Bird Sumner