Augustus Keppel, Viscount Keppel
- Extended catalogue entry
Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue
Augustus Keppel, Viscount Keppel
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 635 mm)
This portraitback to top
Reynolds painted seven portraits of Keppel between 1749 and 1785, but their relationship was based on friendship rather than patronage. They were of an age (Reynolds just two years older) and initially shared the interest of Lord Mount Edgcumbe, on whose suggestion Captain Keppel took Reynolds with him to the Mediterranean in 1749 as a guest on his ship the Centurion; ‘I had the use of his cabin’, wrote Reynolds, ‘and his study of books, as if they had been my own, and when he went ashore he generally took me with him ... as if I had travelled as his equal’.  Reynolds’s Italian studies, followed by his dramatic whole-length portrait of Keppel, launched his distinguished career.
NPG 5572 is a replica of the portrait now in the National Maritime Museum  which was probably painted for Lord Rockingham. It appears likely that NPG 5572 was still in Reynolds’s studio in 1779 when it was engraved by William Doughty (see NPG 179). A miniature copy of the head, attributed to James Smith, is in the Royal Collection,  and another, signed A. R., was sold Christie’s, 21 November 2000, lot 24.
Footnotesback to top
1) To Lord Mount Edgcumbe, after May 1750 (J. Ingamells & J. Edgcumbe eds., The Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2000, p 9).
2) BHC 2820; D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.1040.
3) R. J. B. Walker, The eighteenth and early nineteenth century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1992, no.311.
Referenceback to top
Graves & Cronin
A. Graves & W. V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 4 vols., 1899-1901, II, pp 540-44.
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, no.1041.
E. K. Waterhouse, Reynolds, 1941, p 52.
Physical descriptionback to top
Brown eyes, grey hair, wearing a flag officer’s undress uniform of a dark blue coat with gold facings and white vest with gold facings.
Provenanceback to top
Edward Wright, Newark, in 1835;1 1st Baron Burton (1837-1909); by descent to the Trustees of Lord Burton’s 1983 Grandchildren’s Settlement; Michael Tollemache, from whom purchased 1983.
1 A pencil annotation of 1835, apparently by William Cotton III, in a set of Hodgson & Graves Engravings from the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (I, p 80), Cottonian Collection, Plymouth (noted by D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.1041).
Exhibitionsback to top
British Art, Grosvenor Gallery, 1889 (40) lent Lord Burton; Two Centuries of British Painting, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, 1969.
Reproductionsback to top
W. Doughty 1779; S. W. Reynolds; J. Chapman 1800 (oval).
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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