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George Lucy (1714 – 1786)

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (Lucca 1708 – Rome 1787)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1758 (Rome)

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1321 x 972 mm (52 x 38 1/4 in)

Place of origin

Rome

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Collection

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire, Midlands, National Trust

NT 533888

Caption

This portrait was painted whilst George Lucy was on his Grand Tour. In a letter of 12 April 1758 to Mrs Hayes, a Warwickshire widow, he wrote: ‘ … I have shown my face and person to the celebrated Pompeo Battoni, to take the likeness thereof . . . these painters are great men, and must be flattered; for ‘tis the custom here, not to think themselves obliged to you for employing them, but that they oblige you by being employed.’ The picture was completed after Lucy’s departure from Rome, and was sent to Charlecote where it remains. Batoni was one of the most sought-after portraitists of Grand Tourists. He has here shown the sitter’s preoccupation with clothes to great effect, emphasising his elaborate flowered waistcoat by distorting the sitter’s body.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, George Lucy (1714-1786) by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (Lucca 1708 – Rome 1787), Rome 1758. A three-quarter-length portrait, standing to left, wearing a white powdered wig, blue velvet coat with gold brocaded and a long gold brocaded, flowered waistcoat, white cuffs and stock, and black breeches in a walled terrace, with a ewer of flowers, carnations on the parapet ledge behind him the the left. He leans his left elbow on the plinth of a column, holding a black hat, whilst looking towards the left and pointing downwards with his right hand. In a letter to Mrs Hayes, dated 12 April 1758, George Lucy writes from Rome: "I have shown my face ad person to the celebrated Pompeo Battoni, to take the likeness thereof; I have sat twice, and am to attend him again in a day or two. These painters are great men, and must be flattered; for 'tis the custom here, not to think themselves obliged to you for employing them, but that they oblige you by being employed. When I asked my operator what time he would require, his answer was a month or five weeks, and that he would not undertake to do me in less time..."

Provenance

Commissioned by the sitter in Rome in 1758 and paid 40 gns for; thence by family descent to Sir Montgomerie Fairfax-Lucy (1896 - 1965), who in 1945 presented Charlecote Park and its chief contents to the National Trust

Credit line

Charlecote Park, The Fairfax-Lucy Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (Lucca 1708 – Rome 1787), artist

References

Clark and Bowron 1985 Anthony M. Clark & Edgar Peters Bowron (ed.), Pompeo Batoni A Complete Catalogue of his Works with an Introductory Text, Oxford 1985, p. 273, no. 212, pl. 197 Lucy 1862 Mary Elizabeth Lucy, Biography of the Lucy Family, of Charlecote Park, in the County of Warwick, London, 1862, pp.103, 107 Fairfax-Lucy 1958 Alice Fairfax-Lucy, Charlecote and the Lucys, London 1958, p. 218 Charlecote Park, Warwickshire, 2005: [National Trust; Oliver Garnett], new edition 2005, p. 35, no. 75

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