The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Unknown man, formerly known as Joseph Wright

Unknown man, formerly known as Joseph Wright, by Unknown artist, circa 1765-1770 -NPG 29 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Unknown man, formerly known as Joseph Wright

by Unknown artist
circa 1765-1770
28 1/2 in. x 23 3/4 in. (724 mm x 603 mm)
NPG 29

Inscriptionback to top

Label verso: Joseph Wright/1775/painted by himself at Rome/where he died.1

1 Recorded by Scharf in 1862.

This portraitback to top

Evidently a self portrait of 1765-70, previously identified as Wright of Derby. [1] A copy was given to Derby Museum and Art Gallery by W. Wright Bemrose, a direct descendant of Wright of Derby [2]. If the sitter was an artist closely connected with Wright c.1765-70, likely candidates would be Richard Hurlston or William Tate, whose features, let alone their work, remain obscure. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) Illus. as such by W. Bemrose, Wright of Derby, 1885, front.; a collotype(?) published by Bemrose & Co., c.1883 (NPG archive).
2) Exhibited Wright of Derby, Derby, 1934 (75).
3) See B. Nicolson, Joseph Wright of Derby, 1968, I, pp 6, 138-40.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, brown hair, green coat, brown drape, green folder.

Provenanceback to top

Deville; Deagostine;1 Gaetano Polidori; his son-in-law, William Michael Rossetti, by whom presented 1858 (as a portrait of Joseph Wright of Derby).

1 Names given by W. M. Rossetti in a letter to Scharf, 19 February 1858 (NPG archive): he wrote that the picture had descended from his father-in-law, Polidori, who had received it from a Signor Deagostini, who had it from a M. Deville ‘who is believed to have been a Hungarian’.

Exhibitionsback to top

Derby 1883 (50).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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 Joseph Wright