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Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Bt

1 of 41 portraits of Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Bt

Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Bt, by Arthur William Devis, 1815-1816 -NPG 1481 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Bt

by Arthur William Devis
1815-1816
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
NPG 1481

This portraitback to top

The portrait was painted either in 1815 to celebrate the Alderman's election as Lord Mayor of London or in 1816 when Wood's rescue of three innocent Irishmen condemned to be hanged made a considerable impression. The event was specially mentioned in Say's mezzotint which was used for Halliday's medal: 'a profile likeness in bronze colour by Myers and a most excellent three-quarter mezzotinto engraving that has recently been published for the benefit of the three unfortunate Irishmen ...' (letter from the Rev George Bates, Chaplain to the Lord Mayor, 21 January 1817, cited in Sir E. Thomason, Memoirs During Half a Century, 1845, I, p 140). Charles Lamb composed a sonnet to Wood published in Thelwall's paper The Champion, May 1820, 'Hold on thy course uncheck'd, heroic Wood!'

Physical descriptionback to top

Head and shoulders slightly to right wearing regalia as Lord Mayor of London, gold chain with roses and portcullis, jewel with City arms and motto DOMINE DIRIGE NOS; grey hair (or wig) and whiskers, greenish-blue eyes, swarthy complexion, smiling expression; plain drab background.

Provenanceback to top

Family possession, then the Sussex Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co, Brighton and bought from there 1907.

Reproductionsback to top

Mezzotint by William Say 1816 lettered: THE RIGHT HONble MATTHEW WOOD/TWICE LORD MAYOR OF LONDON 1815 AND 1816./Published London Jany 1st 1817 by Boydell & Co. Cheapside. - for the Benefit of the three Irishmen rescued from an Ignominious Death by the exertions of his Lordship. Stipple engraving by Cooper Copied (by Permission of the Worthy Alderman) from an Original Print … and published by Thomas Kelly 1821.


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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