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Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart, Cardinal York

3 of 10 portraits of Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart, Cardinal York

Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart, Cardinal York, by Anton Raphael Mengs, circa 1750 -NPG 129 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart, Cardinal York

circle of Anton Raphael Mengs
circa 1750
29 in. x 24 1/4 in. (737 mm x 616 mm)
NPG 129

This portraitback to top

The date is uncertain; 1774, suggested by Emmerling [1] but for no firm reason, seems too late for the apparent age. An engraving by P. A. Pazzi after an unnamed original and published, to judge from the lettering, soon after he received the cardinal's hat, appears much closer to his actual age. The face-mask of NPG 129 is in fact very close to the signed and dated Blanchet whole length of 1748 sold at Hamilton Palace, Christie's, 8 July 1882, lot 1116, and now in the Darnaway Castle collection. Although NPG 129 is likely to be an early copy rather than a product of the studio, the assurance of the presentation argues a Batoni original, albeit one not now known. [2] The only known reference is in the Stuart Papers. York sat to Duprà for a new portrait, which was copied by Batoni for Prince Charles, then in Paris, 'Pompeo at last has finished my Picture, it is finely done, but to tell you the Truth it is not well copied from the Originall ...'. [3] Baton's copy was a miniature, paid for on 21 September 1744. As this was before York was made a cardinal, it can hardly be connected with NPG 129, and merely strengthens the case for postulating a lost Batoni type.

Footnotesback to top

1) Ernst Emmerling, Pompeo Batoni, 1932, pp 35-36.
2) I am grateful to Michael Levey for his comments on this picture.
3) Michael Levey, The Later Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1964, p 25, citing Miss Stuart-Wortley; see All Known Portraits.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark brown eyes and eyebrows, lips just parted, short white wig, bluish jowl, pale complexion; skull cap, white lawn collar, rochet over scarlet cassock just visible beneath cappa magna, with ermine over chaperon; [1] letter in his left hand; a column, left; plain greenish-brown background; lit from the left.

1) Egerton Beck, 'Ecclesiastical Dress in Art', Burlington Magazine, VIII, 1905-06, p 281.

Conservationback to top

Patch of discolouration in right shoulder; lined and restored, 1864; lightly cleaned and varnished, 1948; varnish now slightly yellowed.

Provenanceback to top

Bought, 1861, Christie's, 17 June, lot 19; the catalogue describes it as ‘Bought of Mr. Forster, who purchased it in Paris'.


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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