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Hans Moritz, Count Brühl (1737-1809)

James Northcote, RA (Plymouth 1746 – London 1831)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1796

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1270 x 1000 mm

Place of origin

England

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Collection

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex, London and South East, National Trust

NT 486299

Caption

The pose of the sitter was copied directly from Van Dyck's ‘Unknown Roman Cleric’, acquired by Catherine the Great with the Crozat Collection, and now in the Hermitage. Northcote presumably knew of the painting from an engraving. The sitter was a great collector and diplomat, who was Saxon ambassador to London from 1764. He married Alicia Maria Carpenter, Countess of Egremont (1729-1794), widow of the Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont (1710-1763), in 1767. Thereafter he settled in England, where he built an observatory at Harefield and patronised the watchmakers Emery and Mudge. Either this picture - or a prime version of it - was painted for Thomas Mudge Junior (1760-1843), as is revealed by his letter to William Wyndham of 21 January 1796. He was an amateur of letters and of science, and his interests, particularly astronomy, are alluded to by the still life in the portrait.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Hans Moritz, Count Brühl (1737-1809) by James Northcote, RA (Plymouth 1746 – London 1831), 1796. A three-quarter-length portrait, seated, three-quarters left, in a red armchair and wearing a black velvet coat with knee breeches and a ribbon and star. His right arm is extended. To the right there is a green-covered table, with a quadrant and a paper with an inscription. In the left background is a red curtain and a ship named the 'Glory', flying the blue ensign. He appears to be wearing the star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle (Saxon from 1705 until its temporary eclipse in 1775), which he was awarded when made a Saxon privy councillor in 1788.

Provenance

Purchased at the Polworth Sale in Scotland 28-30 March 1912 Lot 109 thence by descent, until the death in 1952 of the 3rd Lord Leconfield, who had given Petworth to the National Trust in 1947, and whose nephew and heir, John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-72) arranged for the acceptance of the major portion of the collections at Petworth in lieu of death duties (the first ever such arrangement) in 1956 by H.M.Treasury.

Credit line

Petworth House, The Egremont Collection (acquired in lieu of tax by HM Treasury in 1956 and subsequently transferred to the National Trust)

Marks and inscriptions

J.S.NORTHCOTE PINXT 1796 (signed but not found)

Makers and roles

James Northcote, RA (Plymouth 1746 – London 1831), artist of original

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