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John Wilson

John Wilson, by Sir John Watson-Gordon, 1829 -NPG 187 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

John Wilson

by Sir John Watson-Gordon
35 1/2 in. x 27 1/2 in. (902 mm x 699 mm)
NPG 187

This portraitback to top

Another version of this portrait, in the Scottish NPG (646), is signed and dated 1829 and was acquired in 1906. NPG 187 has no inscription and is probably the original study kept by the artist as a model. It was in the studio at his death in 1864 and was given to the Gallery by his brother in 1865. It appears in the NPG 1888 Catalogue as 'painted in 1833', presumably based on the publication date of Dawe's mezzotint.
Watson Gordon painted a later portrait of Professor Wilson, exhibited RA 1851 (50) and commissioned by the publishers of Blackwood's Magazine to which 'Christopher North' was an original contributor and mainstay. It is still with Messrs Blackwood & Sons Edinburgh and shows the Professor seated to right with his arms crossed and right hand on walking-stick. The earlier portrait shows him clean-shaven with a short elegant haircut; the later one with shaggy hair and the 'Newgate frill' which became a fashion after 1840.

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length seated to right holding a book, in black suit, white shirt, black bow-tie; dark yellow-brown hair and short side-whiskers, grey eyes, red cheeks, pale compressed lips; plain brown background.

Provenanceback to top

The artist and given by his brother H. G. Watson 1865.

Exhibitionsback to top

'Cumbrian Characters', Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendall, 1968.

Reproductionsback to top

Mezzotint by H. Dawe published 1 March 1833 by Mr A. W. Maclean, Edinburgh.

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.

View all known portraits for John Wilson