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Robert Bakewell

1 of 2 portraits by John Boultbee

Robert Bakewell, by John Boultbee, circa 1788-1790 -NPG 5949 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Robert Bakewell

by John Boultbee
circa 1788-1790
27 3/4 in. x 35 3/4 in. (710 mm x 910 mm)
NPG 5949

This portraitback to top

One of four similar portraits of Bakewell, the other three lacking the foreground dog. In the signed portrait in the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery (bought in 1967) Bakewell wears a green coat; it is probably the prime version. [1] The other two, at the Brooksby Agricultural College, Melton Mowbray, [2] and with the Royal Agricultural Society, appear to be copies; neither head, for example, has the quality of the Leicester or NPG versions, one of which must have provided the original from which F. Engleheart engraved the half-length portrait of Bakewell in 1842. [3]
The attribution to Boultbee is traditional. A Leicestershire painter, he was living at Loughborough at least in 1787-88; in 1788 he exhibited ‘a favourite horse of Mr Bakewell’ at the RA, and in 1791 another Bakewell horse by Boultbee was engraved by F. Jukes. [4]

Footnotesback to top

1) Illus. E. Moncrieff, Farm Animal Portraits, 1996, p 14; Country Life, CLVII, 1975, p 1710.
2) Illus. Jnl. of the Royal Agricultural Soc. of England, 136, 1975, f.p.57.
3) Illus. A. S. Turberville, English Men and Manners of the 18th century, 1929, p 145 (and Country Life, CLVII, 1975, p 1709, in reverse).
4) See W. S. Sparrow, Connoisseur, XCI, 1933, p 156.

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue eyes, wearing a black hat, buff coat and black boots, mounted on a bay hunter, his prize cattle beyond.

Provenanceback to top

Robert Fowler (d. 1791);1 by descent to his great-great-nephew, George Price, from whom bought by James Bliss 1891; by descent to Miss P. E. J. Williams; Sotheby’s, 15 July 1987, lot 139, bought Leggatt for the NPG.

1 The sitter’s friend and a fellow stock-breeder. The provenance cited is that given in the Sotheby sale cat. of 1987.


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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