Samuel Wesley

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Samuel Wesley

by John Jackson
circa 1815-1820
22 3/4 in. x 18 1/4 in. (578 mm x 476 mm)
NPG 2040

This portraitback to top

Jackson's link with Wesleyan Methodism is well-established. His mother was Anne Warrener, sister of William Warrener a Wesleyan missionary; he painted several of the Wesleyan leaders including a posthumous half-length of John Wesley himself, engraved by T. A. Dean and for many years used as frontispiece to the Wesleyan Hymn Book; and he drew a collection of monthly portraits for The Evangelical Magazine from 1793 onwards, usually lettered without the artist's name. The NPG portrait of Samuel Wesley was never finished or engraved but there seems to be no reason to doubt its authenticity though H. C. Morgan does not include it in his Life of John Jackson RA (1956). It was acquired direct from the Jackson family and was accompanied by several letters and a MS form of will or 'last wishes' from the artist's widow, Matilda Louisa, dated 13 February 1872 requesting that 'The Picture of Samuel Wesley to be given to John Jackson my nephew after my departure'. Sydney Jackson in a letter to the NPG (undated but probably July 1924) mentions an 'original letter from S. Wesley to J. Jackson RA which we once had by us'; it seems to have been lent to J. B. Leslie of Morley, Yorkshire, in or before April 1893 (papers in NPG archive). There is no record of when or where the portrait was painted; Freeman O'Donoghue in Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits, IV, 1914, p 441 judges the sitter, from a photograph of the portrait, to be aged 60.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head and shoulders to left unfinished in a painted oval, brown coat, white neckcloth; grey hair powdered, dark eyes, pale complexion; plain dark red background.

Provenanceback to top

The artist's family possession and sold to the NPG by his nephew's son Sydney P. Jackson 1924.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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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View all known portraits for Samuel Wesley