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George Vertue

George Vertue, by Jonathan Richardson, 1733 -NPG 576 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Vertue

by Jonathan Richardson
1733
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
NPG 576

Inscriptionback to top

At the back of the canvas was the inscription: Geo. Vertue Engrav., Lond. AEta. L. 1738. [1] now not visible and presumably lost in a subsequent relining.

1) Sir George Scharf, Catalogue of the Pictures Belonging to the Society of Antiquaries, 1865, p 451.

This portraitback to top

Very probably NPG 576 is the portrait recorded by Vertue in 1733/4. [1] Early printed lists of pictures in the British Museum give age 50, 1733. This may well have been information from the donor, but there has been some confusion about the date, at least since Chambars' engraving of the portrait as age 50, 1738 was published uncorrected by Walpole in his Anecdotes of 1762. [2] It seems unlikely that Vertue or his widow, to whom the portrait belonged in 1762, would have wrongly recorded the facts.

Footnotesback to top

1) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, III, p 69, quoted under All Known Portraits. His biographical note on Richardson comes in the same year.
2) Walpole has the date of birth as 1684 in his 'Life of Mr. George Vertue', Anecdotes of Painting in England ... collected by ... George Vertue; digested ... by Horace Walpole, edited J. Dalloway and R. N. Wornum, 1862, p 988.

Physical descriptionback to top

No hair visible, dark brown eyes, grey eyebrows, ruddy cheeks, full crimson lips, blue jowl, double chin with dimple; dark brown velvet cap with yellow tassel, pulled down over the tip of his left ear, white neck-cloth, dark brown gown, the coat lapel just visible; brown background; lit from the top right; painted oval of light brown masonry.

Conservationback to top

Surface cleaned and revarnished 1879; cleaned and relined 1895; broadly painted on a twill canvas; a pentiment on the top of his right arm.

Provenanceback to top

Transferred 1879 to the NPG from the British Museum, to whom it had been given by the sitter's widow in 1775.

Exhibitionsback to top

'Allan Ramsay: His Masters and Rivals', National Gallery of Scotland, 1963 (33).

Reproductionsback to top

Engraved by Thomas Chambars, 1738.


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.

View all known portraits for Jonathan Richardson

View all known portraits for George Vertue