Sir William Fawcett
48 of 1413 portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
Sir William Fawcett
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
50 3/8 in. x 40 3/4 in. (1280 mm x 1035 mm)
This portraitback to top
Fawcett’s only known appointment with Reynolds was on 8 January 1784, but the pockets books for 1783 and 1785 are missing. ‘General Fosset’ paid Reynolds 100 gn. in August 1785  and the portrait had been shown at the RA in April that year. The ribbon and star of the Bath, awarded Fawcett in 1786, were added to the finished portrait. Copies were sold Christie’s, 18 October 1985, lot 195, and Sotheby’s, 10 April 1991, lot 121.
Footnotesback to top
Referenceback to top
Graves & Cronin 1899-1901
A. Graves & W. V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 1899-1901, p 299.
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2 vols., 2000, no.599.
E. K. Waterhouse, Reynolds, 1941, p 76.
Physical descriptionback to top
Grey eyes, white hair, wearing the uniform of a lieutenant-general: red frock with dark blue lapels and silver trim; silver epaulettes; white vest and breeches.
Provenanceback to top
By descent in the sitter’s family:1 W. W. Fawcett by 1884;2 Knoedler, New York (before 1941); Mrs F. E. Guest sale, New York, 25 September 1968; Parke Bernet, New York, 18 May 1972, lot 158; Sotheby’s, New York, 17 June 1982, lot 102, bought Agnew, from whom purchased.
1 On 23 November 1801 the sitter described NPG 5515 as having been ‘drawn some years since by the late Sir Joshua Reynolds, and in the possession of Mrs Farrer’ (letter from A. Chisslett, 1 August 2000; NPG archive).
2 NPG 5515 was sketched by Scharf in the collection of ‘Mr Fawcett’, Spring Lodge, Sydenham, 12 February 1863 (Sir George Scharf's Trustees' Sketch Books, 7/71).
Exhibitionsback to top
RA 1785 (175);1 Reynolds, Grosvenor Gallery, 1883-84 (58) lent W. W. Fawcett; RA 1895 (9) lent R. A. Fawcett; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1957-61 lent by Mrs Guest.
1 Graves & Cronin quote a contemporary review from the Morning Herald: 'No.175. portrait of an officer, General Fawcett.'
Reproductionsback to top
J. Ward 1801; S. W. Reynolds.
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.