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General, The Hon. William Hervey (1732-1815)

attributed to Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1766

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

735 x 610 mm

Place of origin

England

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Collection

Ickworth, Suffolk (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Ickworth, Suffolk, East of England, National Trust

NT 851784

Caption

The sitter was the fourth son of John, Lord Hervey (1696-1743) and Mary Lepel, daughter of Brig.-General Nicholas Lepel. He entered the army as a lieutenant in 1755 & progressed to the rank of general in 1798. He served in Canada in 1756-63 in the war against the French, witnessing the capture of Niagara & Montreal. From 1763-68 he was M.P. for Bury St Edmunds. William was a great traveller both in Britain & Europe. He was known for his philanthropy, much of his money was spent on relieving debtors, helping the poor & maintaining schools. He was buried at Ickworth. His notebooks were printed by S.H.A. Hervey in 1906, which reveal him to have been a generous and charitable figure to the poor and unfortunate. In 1803 he wrote: ‘Employed Mr Smith of Bury to inoculate a dozen of the poor of Horringer for the cow pox’

Summary

Oil painting on canvas (oval), General, The Hon. William Hervey (1732-1815), attributed to Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810), 1766. An oval three-quarter-length portrait of a man, turned and gazing to the right, standing in a landscape, wearing a scarlet uniform of the 1st Guards with black lapels and silver frogging, his right hand on his hip, his left hand holding a stick; short dark brown hair; landscape background. Inscribed 'Colonel William Hervey' centre top. The sitter was the fourth son of John, Lord Hervey (1696-1743) and Mary Lepel, daughter of Brig.-General Nicholas Lepel. Unmarried. He accompanied General Braddock’s expedition to North America as a volunteer in the 44th Essex Regiment in 1755, returning in 1763, when for a few years he represented Bury in Parliament. Captain and Colonel 1st Guards in 1776. He was made a general in 1798. His 58 small notebooks, which cover the years 1755-1815, and which were edited by S.H.A. Hervey and published in 1906, reveal him to have been a great traveller but an ‘impersonal and limited, though immensely curious about everything,’ observer. He spent a month in the Veneto, as part of an extensive European tour in 1766, and made a longer visit to Italy from April 1772 to June 1773, when he enlisted in one of James Byre’s courses in Rome (with John Staples, Richard Neville, and Thomas Orde – but he has never been identified as one of the protagonists in the Roman Conversation-Piece by John Brown, of which there are versions at Springhill [NT] and Audley End). In 1787 Carlo Labruzzi dedicated to him a series of engravings of figures suitable for insertion into landscape paintings, and in 1788-90 he made a final sojourn in Rome. His notebooks reveal him to have been a generous and charitable figure to the poor and unfortunate.

Provenance

By inheritance and descent to the 4th Marquess (1863-1951), on whose death valued for probate; accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of death duties and transferred to the National Trust in 1956

Credit line

Ickworth, The Bristol Collection (acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1956)

Marks and inscriptions

Colonel William Hervey

Makers and roles

attributed to Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810), artist

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