Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 32 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 24 items Explore
  • 47 items
  • 92 items
  • 3,500 items Explore
  • 89 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2 items
  • 41 items
  • 9,899 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,211 items Explore
  • 7,418 items Explore
  • 4,947 items Explore
  • 74 items Explore
  • 101 items Explore
  • 9,418 items Explore
  • 13,022 items Explore
  • 4,331 items Explore
  • 52 items
  • 5 items
  • 127 items Explore
  • 2,035 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,687 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 440 items Explore
  • 18,112 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,919 items Explore
  • 960 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 4,981 items Explore
  • 407 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 923 items Explore
  • 1 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 9 items
  • 16,229 items Explore
  • 787 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 68 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 798 items
  • 20 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 303 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 134 items
  • 2 items
  • 107 items Explore
  • 116 items
  • 897 items Explore
  • 834 items
  • 91 items
  • 27 items
  • 7 items
  • 23,528 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,309 items Explore
  • 1,501 items Explore
  • 352 items
  • 191 items Explore
  • 7,655 items Explore
  • 8,912 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,733 items Explore
  • 5,567 items Explore
  • 4,026 items Explore
  • 857 items Explore
  • 848 items Explore
  • 2,488 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 312 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 2,925 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 309 items Explore
  • 726 items Explore
  • 828 items Explore
  • 476 items Explore
  • 1,134 items Explore
  • 988 items
  • 89 items
  • 125 items Explore
  • 5,180 items Explore
  • 163 items
  • 311 items
  • 7 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 29 items
  • 58 items
  • 302 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,831 items Explore
  • 1,292 items Explore
  • 69 items
  • 43 items
  • 17,908 items Explore
  • 1,099 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 931 items Explore
  • 28 items
  • 1 items
  • 145 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 23 items
  • 252 items
  • 311 items
  • 823 items Explore
  • 1,893 items
  • 276 items Explore
  • 2,252 items
  • 2,102 items
  • 6 items
  • 2 items
  • 2 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,683 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 29,677 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,052 items Explore
  • 191 items Explore
  • 7,377 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 1 items
  • 25 items
  • 717 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 156 items
  • 52 items
  • 19,569 items Explore
  • 824 items
  • 17 items
  • 2 items
  • 18,334 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 1,864 items Explore
  • 1,021 items Explore
  • 53 items
  • 420 items
  • 3,261 items Explore
  • 82 items
  • 443 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 20 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 68 items
  • 289 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 113 items
  • 272 items
  • 764 items
  • 717 items
  • 1 items
  • 341 items Explore
  • 459 items Explore
  • 10,351 items Explore
  • 695 items Explore
  • 5,848 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 4,979 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1 items
  • 5,260 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,297 items Explore
  • 9,171 items Explore
  • 6,539 items Explore
  • 183 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 997 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 3,919 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 1,022 items Explore
  • 195 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,486 items Explore
  • 20 items
  • 695 items Explore
  • 35 items
  • 114 items
  • 3,196 items Explore
  • 12,249 items Explore
  • 2,722 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 7,977 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 1 items
  • 21,329 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 38 items
  • 12,829 items Explore
  • 3,294 items Explore
  • 1,952 items Explore
  • 162 items
  • 31,525 items Explore
  • 633 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 21,262 items Explore
  • 195 items
  • 1 items
  • 17 items
  • 30 items
  • 47 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 215 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 14,788 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 15,263 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 13 items
  • 25 items
  • 3,260 items Explore
  • 852 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 195 items
  • 646 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 1 items
  • 2,022 items Explore
  • 874 items Explore
  • 14 items
  • 1,781 items Explore
  • 135 items
  • 73 items
  • 695 items Explore
  • 2,687 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 22 items
  • 12 items
  • 9,011 items Explore
  • 19,525 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,194 items
  • 170 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 77 items
  • 159 items
  • 9,979 items Explore
  • 3,513 items Explore
  • 2,615 items Explore
  • 4,670 items Explore
  • 23 items
  • 57 items
  • 6,098 items Explore
  • 4,024 items Explore
  • 460 items Explore
  • 2,255 items Explore
  • 1,807 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,276 items Explore
  • 41 items
  • 216 items Explore
  • 378 items Explore
  • 5,140 items Explore
  • 8,927 items Explore
  • 1,829 items Explore
  • 2,163 items Explore
  • 3,296 items Explore
  • 8,680 items Explore
  • 72 items
  • 11 items
  • 2,488 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,785 items Explore
  • 614 items Explore
  • 60 items
  • 16 items
  • 141 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 468 items
  • 1 items
  • 934 items
  • 3,562 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 8,309 items Explore
  • 46 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 44 items
  • 3 items
  • 12,894 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,124 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 4,820 items Explore
  • 779 items Explore
  • 2,009 items
  • 5,097 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,324 items Explore
  • 1,340 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,546 items Explore
  • 16,135 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,681 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 35 items
  • 5,413 items Explore
  • 7,527 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 11 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 6,697 items Explore
  • 248 items Explore
  • 11 items
  • 4 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 104 items Explore
  • 423 items
  • 150 items Explore
  • 7,345 items Explore
  • 45 items
  • 20,951 items Explore
  • 6,599 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 2 items
  • 546 items Explore
  • 325 items
  • 163 items Explore
  • 10,845 items Explore
  • 54 items
  • 16 items
  • 5 items
  • 4 items
  • 314 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 172 items
  • 3,306 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,228 items Explore
  • 2,093 items Explore
  • 588 items Explore
  • 20 items
  • 1,068 items Explore
  • 96 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 253 items Explore
  • 56,844 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2,628 items Explore
  • 2,599 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 3,133 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 14,877 items Explore
  • 5,116 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 658 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 2 items
  • 468 items
  • 39 items
  • 72 items
  • 29 items
  • 417 items
  • 3 items
  • 42 items
  • 1,057 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 715 items
  • 46 items
  • 8,364 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 2 items
  • 947 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 14,149 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 302 items
  • 2 items
  • 547 items Explore
  • 1,660 items Explore
  • 935 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 154 items

Select a time period

Or choose a specific year

Clear all filters

Self-portrait of the Artist engraving

Richard Morton Paye (Botley c.1760 – London c.1821)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1783 (exh)

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

733 x 603 mm (28 7/8 x 23 3/4 in)

Place of origin

England

Order this image

Collection

Upton House, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Upton House, Midlands, National Trust

NT 446692

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Self-portrait of the Artist engraving by Richard Morton Paye (1750-1821), 1783. As a young man, seated by candlelight in a studio; he faces right, his head turned towards the spectator, an etching point in his right hand, a copper plate and a small canvas which he is copying supported on the table in front of him; behind is a gilt mirror in which the candle reflected; a cast of Apollo Belvedere is in the corner of the room.

Full description

It is unusual to see a portrait of an engraver at work (though one of the better-known examples is Watteau's drawing, possibly of Bernard Baron, in the British Museum), and even more so when the painter is himself the engraver. Details such as the use of a reduced version of the original portrait to engrave from, and the mirror to ensure that the engraver makes a reversed image on his plate, which will then print in the same direction as the original, or the screen to diffuse light from the window in daytime, are fascinating. But the picture possesses an additional source of interest in that Paye was not only both painter and engraver, but also a modeller and chaser, so that the picture likewise includes sculpture - apparently both reduced plaster casts of celebrated Antiques, and (discreetly tucked under the table on the right) examples of his own work. The portrait that he is engraving is not, however, one painted by himself, but the reduced version of a lost portrait of the famous and philanthropic surgeon of Bart's, Percival Pott, FRS (1714-88), the eponym of 'Pott's fracture', painted by Nathaniel Dance (1735-1811). A half-length derivative variant of it, without hands or setting, was presented to the Royal College of Surgeons by Francis Wingrave in 1800 . The portrait shows Pott at an advanced age, and must therefore have been one of the last painted by Dance before he retired from professional practice in 1782. The engraving was also published by Paye himself, on 21st October 1783, from No.26 Swallow Street [Piccadilly] . The most plausible reason for this is that he had begun it as some form of return to the sitter's third, but second surviving, son, Joseph Holden Pott (1759-1847), who had then just proceeded MA at Cambridge, but subsequently rose to become Vicar of Kensington and Archdeacon of London, and who is recorded as having been Paye's first patron, and as buying his earliest works . Such may indeed have been the case, although the age of twenty-three, and before the death of his father, would normally have been rather early for a second son to have been dispensing patronage. We know, however, that Pott had already manifested an interest in art, since in 1782 he had published (anonymously) An Essay on Landscape Painting. Furthermore, Paye's second patron is said by the same sources, one claiming personal knowledge of the artist from that period, to have been the satirist and art-critic (and interestingly, previously also a physician) 'Peter Pindar', alias Dr John Wolcot (1738-1819). The commencement of his patronage of Paye can be fairly narrowly dated, since it succeeded his estrangement from his original artistic protégé, 'the Cornish Wonder', John Opie, which occurred in 1782 and coincided with Paye's move from Swallow Street to Broad Street in 1784, when they shared lodgings. Paye himself was later to quarrel with Wolcot, the argument having begun with arguments over the model for his Portrait of a Sulky Boy (exh. RA, 1785) - who was reputedly none other than an illegitimate son of Wolcot's - and over Paye's refusal to adopt the dilettante's advice, and having ended with Paye painting a satirical image of Wolcot himself. All in all, therefore, there are good reasons for dating the younger Pott's patronage of Paye to a period extending until at least 1783. The fact, however, that the engraving of Pott Senior was not dedicated either to him or to his son, may be an indication that Paye - whose unsociable nature is commented upon by the anonymous writer of his obituary in The Literary Gazette - had broken with both of them by the time that he came to publish it in October 1783; but it could just be one of the many indications of his unworldliness. Paye exhibited this picture at the Society of Artists in 1783, under the title simply of An Engraver at Work. His adjacently numbered exhibit was An old woman at Work in a Window, which sounds almost like a pendant to it, and is the one that the writer of the posthumous piece about him in the Library of the Fine Arts record as being sold some time subsequently, after it had passed out of his hands, as "a fine Netherlandish work" - just as a picture of his wife and family modelling The Widow's Cruse was displayed at a prominent dealer's as a Velazquez, and the present picture was bought by Neeld as by Wright of Derby. At this period, and for some time afterwards, Paye seems to have made a speciality of pictures displaying light effects, for which his inspiration, at least in in general terms was, indeed, evidently Wright of Derby. It is therefore not without interest that a lifesize version of one of the Antique casts shown in this painting, the Nymph with a Shell, should also have been the focal point of Wright's Lamplight Academy (exh. Society of Artists, 1769; Yale Center for British Art) There does not seem to be any trace of a direct connection between Wright and Paye, but the fact of Wright's influence (though the depiction of candlelight rather suggests Dutch models) is sufficiently rare to be worthy of remark. Particularly since Paye, compelled from this time on to respond to the demands of the market, increasingly concentrated instead upon sentimentalised fancy pictures and portraits of children, virtually from the year that this picture was exhibited. We do not know whether, as one might expect, this picture of indirect homage to Percival Pott ever belonged to his son, though - in view of the arguments set out above and of Neeld having acquired it, as a Wright of Derby, before 1832 - it seems unlikely. The antecedents of its first recorded owner, Joseph Neeld, MP (1789-1856), of Grittleton House, near Chippenham, have their own interest, however. For he was the builder and furnisher with contemporary British sculpture on a lavish scale of Grittleton, which he was enabled to do by his having inherited in 1827 the then astonishing sum of £1 million from his great-uncle, Philip Rundell (1746-1827), the founder of one of the most successful jewellers' and goldsmiths' businesses that this country has ever seen, Rundell & Bridge. In view of the fact that Paye is known to have been active primarily as a chaser in his early years, there is a certain aptness in this picture's having later belonged to the nephew of one of the prime employers of such craftsmen. (i) See William Le Fanu, A Catalogue of the Portraits, and other Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1960, cat. 192, p.62 & pl.34. (ii) The print is unusually large, and rare. The only example known to David Alexander and this writer is in the Portrait Collection in the Print Room of the British Museum. (iii) See Obituary by 'D.' in The Literary Gazette, 27 January 1822, p.60; partially reproduced by the New Monthly Magazine, vol.VI, no.XV, 1 March 1822, pp.137-38. I am indebted to David Alexander for these references, as for considerable further help with this entry. Also 'Neglected Biography'. No.1. - R.M. PAYE', Library of the Fine Arts, vol.III, No.13 (Feb. 1832), pp.95-101, esp. p.96. (iv) E.W. Clayton, 'Richard Morton Paye', The Connoisseur, vol. XXXVII, Dec. 1913, p.231 & fig. p.232. (v) Francis Haskell & Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven & London, 1981, pp.280-82; exh. cat. Wright of Derby, Tate Gallery, &c., 1990, cat.23. (adapted from author's version/pre-publication, Alastair Laing, In Trust for the Nation, exh. cat., 1995)

Provenance

Bought between 1827 and 1832 by Joseph Neeld, MP (1789 - 1856), of Grittleton House, near Chippenham, Wiltshire (as by Wright of Deby); thence by descent to L. W. Neeld; his sale, Christie's, 13 July 1945, lot 141 (as 'Portrait of the artist seated sketching'); bought by Peter Chance for the 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 - 1948); given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948), in 1948, shortly before his death

Credit line

Upton House, The Bearsted Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Richard Morton Paye (Botley c.1760 – London c.1821), artist

Exhibition history

In Trust for the Nation, National Gallery, London, 1995 - 1996, no.24

References

Clayton 1913 E.W. Clayton, 'Richard Morton Paye', The Connoisseur, XXXVII, Dec. 1913, p. 236 Waterhouse 1981 Ellis K. Waterhouse, The Dictionary of British 18th-century Painters in oils and crayons, Woodbridge 1981 , p. 270, with illus.

View more details