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George Wade

1 of 6 portraits of George Wade

George Wade, by Johan van Diest, circa 1731 -NPG 1594 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Wade

attributed to Johan van Diest
circa 1731
29 3/4 in. x 24 5/8 in. (756 mm x 625 mm) oval
NPG 1594

This portraitback to top

The attribution to Van Diest is based on comparison with a similar portrait at Bath commissioned by the City and hung in the Guildhall in 1731. [1] NPG 1594, formerly a three-quarter length in very bad condition, was reduced to the present oval at or before the time of acquisition. A three-quarter length at Christie's (anonymous property), 24 March 1937, lot 115, and subsequently with D. Minlore, recording the type before reduction, shows horsemen in the background to the left of the figure. A slightly different oval was formerly (1932) in the possession of Major Duncan Warrand. [2] The Bath portrait is a hybrid: the head is the same as in NPG 1594 but the body is turned towards the right as in the other Van Diest type.

Footnotesback to top

1) A resolution was passed on 10 May 1731 to 'pay Mr. Van Diest for the picture of the Right Honourable Lieutenant-General Wade by him lately got up in this Townhall'. Cited F. G. Farwell, A Description of the Portraits and Busts in the Guildhall, Bath, 1907, p 29. See also B. Boyce, The Benevolent Man: A Life of Ralph Allen of Bath, 1967, pp 37-38, and Ralph Allen.
2) Reproduced Sir J. G. Mann, 'Sir John Smythe's Armour in Portraiture', Connoisseur, XC, 1932, p 97.

Physical descriptionback to top

Very dark blue-grey eyes, light brown eyebrows, grey wig, fresh complexion; red coat with gold buttons and button-holes over gold ornamented steel cuirass; [1] dark blackish-brown background.

1) For the armour, see Sir J. G. Mann, 'Sir John Smythe's Armour in Portraiture', Connoisseur, XC, 1932, reproduced p 200.

Conservationback to top

Badly rubbed; considerable retouching, especially to right side of face, wig and body.

Provenanceback to top

Bought 1911 from E. H. Barker of Redcliffe Square, SW10.


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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