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Edward Vernon

2 of 262 portraits by Thomas Gainsborough

Edward Vernon, by Thomas Gainsborough, circa 1753 -NPG 881 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Edward Vernon

by Thomas Gainsborough
circa 1753
49 3/4 in. x 40 7/8 in. (1264 mm x 1038 mm)
NPG 881

This portraitback to top

Philip Thicknesse saw two portraits in Gainsborough's painting room at Ipswich in 1753. [1] These are likely to be the two extant versions: NPG 881 and another, which had belonged to the sitter and was in the Dashwood heirlooms sale at Christie's, 26 June 1914, lot 99. Since 1967 it has been in the collection of Mrs Breckenridge Long. [2] NPG 881 is not perhaps a typical Gainsborough, Scharf tending to attribute it to Highmore prior to acquisition. Waterhouse accepted it, however. [3] McArdell's mezzotint perhaps suggests rather different handling from NPG 881.

Footnotesback to top

1) Philip Thicknesse, A Sketch of the Life and Paintings of Thomas Gainsborough, 1788, p 11.
2) Information from Dr John Hayes, 1967.
3) Sir George Scharf's Trustees' Sketchbooks, XXXVI, p 51; Sir Ellis K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958 (692).

Physical descriptionback to top

Grey eyes, brown bushy eyebrows, grey wig, fresh complexion; light red coat, white cravat and shirt, black hat under arm, gilt sword hilt; greenish-brown rocks and fortress to right, rocks and black cannon to left, grey-green sea, yellow sky with dark grey clouds or smoke.

Conservationback to top

Small areas of retouching, particularly to right side of face, to right cuff and to the boat in the background; surface cleaned, polished and varnished, September 1895 and July 1901.

Provenanceback to top

Bought 1891 from Shepherd Bros, the purchasers at Christie's, 20 June 1891, lot 135; from the collection of B. B. Hunger Bodwell, the lender to the Guelph exhibition in 1891.

Exhibitionsback to top

'Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph', New Gallery, 1891 (125).

Reproductionsback to top

The type was engraved by James McArdell (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 182) and others.


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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