A64: Portrait of a Young Man
View larger photo
© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Portrait of a Young Man|
|Additional titles||Lord Nugent
George Nugent Grenville
|Object type||In category: Pictures » Painting|
|Date||Between 1790 and 1800|
By Mosnier, Jean Laurent (French painter, 1743-1808) (known) - Painter(s)
Previously attributed to Hoppner, John (British painter, 1758-1810) - Painter(s)
Previously attributed to Masquerier, John James (British painter, 1778-1855) - Painter(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » British Isles » Great Britain » England » London|
78.3 cm height sight
62.8 cm width sight
99.0 cm height frame
84.0 cm width frame
7.0 cm depth frame
|Materials & techniques||
Pictures: Medium » Paint » Oil paint
Pictures: Support » Canvas
Half-length portrait of a young man seated, half-profile to left. Curled and powdered hair with queue, heavy features with aquiline nose and full lips. Double-breasted dark coat with gilt buttons and dark collar, plain white stock and cravat. Background a crimson curtain looped up showing an evening landscape of country with abbey and distant hills. Seated in an upholstered chair with brass tacks.
A half-length portrait of a young gentleman, traditionally identified as 'Lord Nugent'.
It is now attributed to Jean-Laurent Mosnier, who fled from Paris to London in 1790. He exhibited at the Royal Academy 1790-96.
Mosnier trained as a miniature painter and in 1776 was appointed Peintre de la Reine to Marie-Antoinette. He fled to London at the outbreak of the Revolution, becoming a Royal Academician and making some concessions in style to the English taste. From London he moved to Hamburg and then to St. Petersburg, adapting his style to suit his current place of residence.
When this painting hung in Sir William Holburne's dining room, it was attributed to John Hoppner, but re-attributed around 1920 to J.J.Masquerier.
According to Dr Susan Steer, in her research for the National Inventory of European Paintings (2006), the present attribution to Mosnier is convincing, and A64 may be catalogued confidently as an autograph painting by Mosnier. However, the sitter cannot be Lord George Nugent Grenville. The work can be dated to the period 1790-95 on the basis of the sitter’s hairstyle and costume. This date ties in very well with an attribution to Mosnier, who arrived in London in 1790, and exhibited at the Royal Academy 1791-96. George Nugent Greville (1788-1850), Baron Nugent of Carlanston, County Westmeath, Ireland, was the second son of George, Earl Temple, and the grandson of Robert, Earl Nugent, whose portrait by Gainsborough is on loan to the Holburne Museum of Art. George was a writer and M. P. for Aylesbury, Lord of the Treasury and Lord High Commissioner for the Ionian Islands.
The identity of the sitter is unknown, although we may surmise that he was English on the basis of the date. A64 was catalogued from 1867 as ‘Lord Nugent’ only, and it was not until 1927 that he was more specifically identified as ‘Lord George Nugent Grenville’, the politician. However, George Nugent Grenville was still an infant in the early 1790s – his dates are 1788-1850. The dates 1757-1849 stated on the old gallery label are an error owed to a letter on file from the NPG which confused the dates of Lord George Nugent Grenville with those of another Sir George Nugent who lived 1757-1849. The earlier Sir George is also unlikely to be the sitter in A64, because he enjoyed a highly successful and prominent military career, whereas the sitter in the portrait has no military accoutrements, and in any case appears too youthful for a man of about 35 years.
These findings are in line with the opinion of John Kerslake of the NPG who in correspondence of 1972 endorsed an attribution to Mosnier, but questioned the sitter's identity. An enquiry of 2006 to the NPG was answered by Rosie Broadley, who also endorsed the attribution to Mosnier and a dating to the 1790s; she compared A64 with images of Lord George Nugent Grenville (Such as Robert Dighton's Caricature 'A noble student of Oxford' (NPG D8557) which demonstrated that he could not have been the sitter. George Nugent Grenville had an almost retroussé nose, whereas the sitter in the Holburne portrait as a distinctive aquiline nose.
1906: H. A. Buttery rejected the attribution to Hoppner, and described A64 as 'very good...excellent English School - first rate'Alec Martin of Christie's: Masquerier
Alfred Jones: Hoppner
1922: Mr. Opie: Hoppner
1972: John Kerslake of the NPG endorsed an attribution to Mosnier, but questioned the sitter's identity.
The Holburne of Menstrie Museum, Catalogue, Pictures, I, Bath 1936, cat. no. 121, pp. 41-2, as Lord Nugent (George Nugent Grenville, 1788 - 1850), by Masquerier
W. Chaffers, Catalogue of the Holburne of Menstrie Art Museum, Bath, London, 1887, cat. no. 1321, p. 65, as Portrait of Lord Nugent by Hoppner
Catalogue of the Pictures and Library, Engravings, Etchings and Miniatures Belonging to Sir Thomas William Holburne, Bart., Bath, 1867, cat. no. 1, p. 1, as Portrait of Lord Nugent, by Hoppner
F. Moeckler, Holburne of Menstrie Art Museum, Bath, 1902, cat. no. 141, p. 5, as Portrait of Lord Nugent by Hoppner
Catalogue, Pictures and Miniatures, I, 1927, cat. no. 133, p. 40, as Lord Nugent (George Nugent Grenville, 1788 - 1850) by Masquerier
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » Sir William Holburne and his Collection » Building the Collection
Oil paintings in the Holburne Museum
|Method of acquisition||Bequest|
By repute collection of Horace Walpole, Strawberry Hill; Sir T. W. Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882); by whom bequeathed to the Museum
Title of exhibition: The Beauties of Bath: The Holburne Museum revealed