Richard Graves

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Richard Graves

by James Northcote
36 in. x 29 in. (914 mm x 737 mm)
NPG 5281

Inscriptionback to top

Indistinctly signed and dated above his left hand: J. Northcote/pinxt/1799.1

1 As recorded in the Reynolds engraving of 1800 and by Scharf in 1872 (Sir George Scharf's Trustees' Sketch Books, 18/36).

This portraitback to top

Graves, shown in his eighty-fourth year, had remained an ‘amiable, well-read, and lively old man’, retaining ‘the easy air, light step, and brisk movement, of a stripling’. [1] The house in the background was presumably the Claverton parsonage described by Nichols as a ‘very good substantial building, much enlarged and improved by Mr Graves. The garden, though not large, is a pretty rural spot, strongly marked by that classic elegance of taste which distinguished the late proprietor as an author.’ [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) Public Characters of 1799-1800, p 391.
2) J. Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, III, p 135.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark brown eyes, powdered wig, wearing clerical gown and bands, seated in a red-upholstered chair; a deep red curtain to the right.

Provenanceback to top

Prince Hoare1 in 1800; Charles Roberson by 1868; Graves 1872;2 Graves family at Bradenham Manor, Bucks., until c.1948 when inherited by Richard Goddard-Wilson (d. 1979);3 Phillips, 26 November 1979, lot 85, bought Leggatt for the NPG.

1 A pupil of Richard Graves and a close friend of Northcote.
2 Henry Graves offered it for sale to the NPG that year (when sketched by Scharf; Sir George Scharf's Trustees' Sketch Books, 18/36).
3 This later provenance given in a letter from Mrs Goddard-Wilson, 11 June 1980 (NPG archive).

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1806 (116); Third and concluding exhibition of National Portraits (fortieth year of the reign of George the third to MDCCCLXVII), South Kensington, 1868 (884) lent Charles Roberson.

Reproductionsback to top

S. W. Reynolds 1800;1 W. Ridley 1800; Ridley & Holl 1806 (half-length oval); anon. (octagonal).

1 As in the possession of Prince Hoare.

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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