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Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, by Jonathan Richardson, circa 1738 -NPG 5598 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

by Jonathan Richardson
circa 1738
29 3/4 in. x 24 7/8 in. (755 mm x 632 mm)
NPG 5598

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed, bottom right: Vist. Bolingbroke.

This portraitback to top

Showing Richardson at his most free (as in the profile portrait of Pope NPG 1179 of c.1737 [1]). A lithograph by G. P. Harding 1820 from a pencil study by Richardson of 1738, which came from Strawberry Hill, [2] shows a comparable head of Bolingbroke. [3]
With the encouragement of Pope, Richardson painted at least three portraits of Bolingbroke in 1732, 1738 and 1742,[4] engraving another in 1738. At his death Pope had at least two portraits of Bolingbroke by Richardson; in his Will he left to Hugh, Earl of Marchmont, ‘that Portrait of Ld Bolingbroke by Richardson which he shall prefer’, and to Arbuthnot ‘one of the Pictures of Lord Bolingbroke’. [5]

Footnotesback to top

1) See J. Kerslake, National Portrait Gallery, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, I, pp 214-15, II, pl.649.
2) Strawberry Hill sale, 22nd day, 19 May 1842, one of four drawings in lot 72. F. T. Smallwood, ‘The Iconography of Bolingbroke’, Report no.10 of the Friends of Lydiard Trigoze, 1977, nos. 11i, 11ii.
3) Pope, Corr., 1956, III, p 326 and n2 (October 1732); ibid., IV, pp 119, 150 (Aug./Sep./Nov. 1738).
4) Ibid., pp 123,128, 400 and nn8,10.
5) F. T. Smallwood, letter of 30 August 1967 (NPG files).

Referenceback to top

Simon & Saywell (eds.) 2004
Complete Illustrated Catalogue, NPG, ed. J. Simon & D. Saywell, 2004, p 63.

Provenanceback to top

Anon. sale, 5 April 1821;1 Argrennan House, Kircudbrightshire, c.1970;2 Goldsmith, Ochiltree Castle, nr. Linlithgow; John Baskett, from whom purchased 1983.

1 Label, verso.
2 It had changed hands not very long before, wrote Baskett, 29 November 1983.

Exhibitionsback to top

Alexander Pope’s Twickenham, Orleans House, Twickenham, 1988, no.28; Voltaire et l’Europe, l’hôtel des Monnaies, Paris, 1994–95, no.99.


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685–1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, 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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