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Francis Whithed (1719-1751)

Rosalba Carriera (Venice 1675 - Venice 1757)

Category

Art / Drawings and watercolours

Date

1741

Materials

Pastel on paper

Measurements

(22 1/2 x 19 3/4 in) 571 x 502 mm

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Collection

Vyne Estate, Hampshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 718711

Caption

Francis Whithead was a cousin of John Chute (1701 - 1776) who inherited The Vyne in 1754. Whithed and Chute travelled together widely on the continent, and it was probably when they were in Venice in 1741 that Whithed sat for Rosalba Carriera, one of the greatest exponents of the pastel medium.

Summary

Pastel on paper, Francis Whithed (1719-1751) by Rosalba Carriera (Venice 1675 - Venice 1757), 1741. A half-length portrait, turned to the left, gazing at the spectator, wearing a blue coat embroidered with gold braid, white waistcoat embroidered with gold, white frilled shirt. Francis Whithead was the son of Alexander Thistlethwayte and Mary Whithed; assumed the name of Whithed on recovering, as heir to his uncle Richard Norton, the Southwick estate which had previously been bequeathed to the government. He was a cousin of John Chute, who adopted him. They travelled together widely on the continent, and it was probably when they were in Venice in 1741 that this portrait was drawn (see entry for Rosalba's drawing of Chute, done in July 1741. A drawing of Whithed by Rosalba was included with this drawing in the Strawberry Hill sale). It was not until 1746 that they returned from Italy. Whithed died at the Vyne five years later. In a letter to John Chute from Cambridge (October 1746) Thomas Gray described Whithed as 'a fine young personage in a coat all over spangles, just come over from the tour of Europe to take possession and be married ...' (He was engaged to Margaret Nichol); and in a second letter to Chute (addressed to Mr Whithed at Southwick Park near Fareham in Hampshire'). Gray continues his praise of Whithed as 'the finest young man that ever was imported'. And Horace Walpole writes to Mann (4th November 1746) on the return of the travellers from Venice that 'Mr Whithed is infinitely improved'.

Provenance

In the Dining Room by the 1880s.

Makers and roles

Rosalba Carriera (Venice 1675 - Venice 1757), artist

Exhibition history

Souvenirs of the Grand Tour, Wildenstein, London, 1982, no.18

References

Sani 1988, Bernardina Sani, Rosalba Carriera, 1988, no. 336, p. 321 & fig. 294

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