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Probably Johan Joseph Zoffany

1 of 45 portraits by Johan Joseph Zoffany

Probably Johan Joseph Zoffany, by Johan Joseph Zoffany, 1761 -NPG 399 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Probably Johan Joseph Zoffany

by Johan Joseph Zoffany
20 3/4 in. x 16 1/4 in. (527 mm x 413 mm)
NPG 399

Inscriptionback to top

Signed bottom left: Zoffany.pinx./1761.1

1 Under a binocular microscope this signature appeared within the original paint layer although it has been reinforced in places (note in the NPG archive 1985).

This portraitback to top

The identification of both artist and subject has been doubted, [1] and an element of uncertainty remains. The signature, however, appears original; the features sufficiently resemble those of the self portrait now recognised in Zoffany’s David of 1759. Pressly has observed that ‘the attitude of pensive introspection fits with the artist’s later self-projections’. A drawing, inscribed ipse pinxit 1761, conceivably a copy from NPG 399, was in the collection of John Lane in 1924. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) For example, emphatically by Mary Webster in 1976 (note in NPG archive) and NPG, Complete Illus. Cat., 1981, p 707 as called Zoffany by an unknown artist. NPG 399 had been accepted as a self portrait by Millar (O. Millar, Zoffany and his Tribuna, 1966, p 2).
2) Illus. G. C. Williamson & Lady Victoria Manners, John Zoffany, R.A., his life and works, 1920, f.p.4; with carefully inscribed title ZOFFANY, as if preparatory for an engraving.

Referenceback to top

Pressly 1987
W. Pressly, ‘Genius Unveiled: The Self-Portraits of Johan Zoffany’, Art Bulletin, LXIX, March 1987, p 97.

Williamson & Manners 1920
G. C. Williamson & Lady Victoria Manners, John Zoffany, R.A., his life and works, 1920, p 221.

Provenanceback to top

J. Scotcher (a broker), Ealing, 1873, bought William Bean, from whom purchased 1875.

Exhibitionsback to top

Zoffany, Arts Council, 1961 (6); British Self-Portraits, Arts Council, 1962 (34); Romantic Art in Britain, Detroit, Philadelphia, 1968 (37).

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.

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