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William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, by Gainsborough Dupont, circa 1790 -NPG 5715 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville

by Gainsborough Dupont
circa 1790
49 3/8 in. x 40 in. (1253 mm x 1017 mm)
NPG 5715

Inscriptionback to top

An old torn handwritten label fixed to stretcher: … Grenville ... was painted for … rge Hammond & ... the two friends ... George ...; a typed label reads: This picture came to the ownership of George Hammond through an agreement made when Lord Grenville was Secretary of State, and George Hammond Under Sec of State at the Foreign Office, that he who lived longest should have both pictures, - of Ld G. and G.H. Ld. G. b. 1759-1834 G.H. b. 1763-1853.
There are also a similar typewritten label, James Bourlet's trade label no.B76259 and the Parker Gallery's trade label.

This portraitback to top

The portrait was part of an agreement between Grenville and George Hammond by which both pictures should go to whoever survived the other. Hammond outlived Grenville by 19 years and presumably his own portrait is still in the same collection, painted by Gilbert Stuart and reproduced in Lawrence Park, Gilbert Stuart, 1926, 111, plate 375. Grenville's portrait was painted during his term of office as Home Secretary and exhibited at the RA in 1790 hanging near Dupont's portrait of Pitt, where a contemporary critic remarked that he followed his uncle's manner so closely 'that were we not aware, to our extreme regret, that Gainsborough is in his grave, we could have been rather peremptory in asserting that the portraits of Mr Pitt, Mr Grenville were Gainsborough's painting' (W. T. Whitley, Thomas Gainsborough, 1915, p 340). Grenville was created a peer in November 1790, and another portrait of him by Dupont, in baron's parliamentary robes dated 1792, is at Ebrington Manor (Lord Fortescue); a version was at Christie's (Sir Edmund Davis sale) 7 July 1939 (121), catalogued as 'Pitt'.
The companion portrait of George Hammond by Gilbert Stuart was painted, probably in Philadelphia, during Hammond's term of office as first British minister to the United States 1791-5. The pair match so closely that it is likely that Dupont sent Stuart a sketch to work from, possibly the drawing for an unpublished mezzotint.

Physical descriptionback to top

Three-quarter-length standing, head turned slightly to right, leather bound book in his right hand; dark blue tail coat with brass buttons, white waistcoat, bow-tie and shirt-frill; grey powdered wig, hazel eyes, fresh complexion, serious expression; crimson curtain background.

Provenanceback to top

George Hammond and by family descent until bought from the collection by Sally Turner Antiques, Chelsea; bought from there by the NPG 1984.

Exhibitionsback to top

Probably RA 1790 (250) as 'Portrait of a Gentleman (Mr Grenville)', adjacent to Dupont's portrait of William Pitt.

Reproductionsback to top

Adapted from a small oval stipple engraving, head and shoulders only as a miniature, engraver's name unstated (examples in NPG).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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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