Augustus John Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol (1724-1779) (after Gainsborough)
Ozias Humphry RA (Honiton 1742 – London 1810)
This is a fragment copy, just showing the head and shoulders, of Gainsborough’s full-length portrait, which is also still at Ickworth. It was probably painted for the late sitter’s mistress to give to his nephew, John Augustus, Lord Hervey (1757-1796), who followed him into the navy and had himself been painted by Gainsborough. A second copy, also by Humphry, was said to have been painted for the 2nd Baron Mulgrave. Whether painted from the full-length, or from the head-and-shoulders, these two copies suggest that Mrs Nesbitt, the owner of the original, was concerned to let close relatives of the 3rd Earl of Bristol have their own versions of the most striking image of him. In the same spirit, she left the original to Lady Murray, the 2nd Lord Mulgrave’s only child, after his death.
Oil painting on canvas, Augustus John Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol (1724-1779) (after Thomas Gainsborough) by Ozias Humphry RA (Honiton 1742 – London 1810), circa 1789. A half-length portrait of a man, turned to the left, gazing to the left, wearing naval uniform of dark blue with gold braiding, buff coloured waistcoat with gilt buttons, and white cravat. He has short grey side curls and peruque. He wears a tricorn hat with gold braid. A head-and-shoulders copy of full-length Gainsboroughat Ickworth.
Possibly originally painted for the late sitter’s mistress to give to his nephew, John Augustus, Lord Hervey (1757-1796) who followed him into the navy and had himself been painted by Gainsborough; thence by descent to his grandson, if it was indeed the picture called: “O. Humphrys Captain Augustus Hervey 1759” [really 1789?] in the posthumous sale of [Charles Augustus Ellis, 2nd Baron Seaford, 6th Lord Howard de Walden, GCB (1799-1868), the sitter’s great-nephew, at Christie’s, 16-18 March 1869, lot 462, bought for 19 gns by Harris [who appears to have bought a number of lots for the family: see ICK.P.42 (Farrer, no.13), the Angelica Kauffman, and ICK.P.37 (Farrer, no. 66), the Hoppner]; thence by descent to Frederick William, 4th Marquess of Bristol (1863-1951); accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of tax and transferred to the National Trust in 1956
Ickworth, The Bristol Collection (acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1956)
Makers and roles
Ozias Humphry RA (Honiton 1742 – London 1810), artist after Thomas Gainsborough RA (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788), artist
Williamson 1918 D. G. Williamson, Ozias Humphry, R.A. 1918, p.239