View full screen - View 1 of Lot 190. Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, standing three-quarter-length, in a black velvet coat, wearing the Star and Riband of the Order of the Garter.
190

Charles Jervas

Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, standing three-quarter-length, in a black velvet coat, wearing the Star and Riband of the Order of the Garter

VAT reduced rate

Estimate:

30,000 to - 40,000 GBP

The Property of a Nobleman

Charles Jervas

Charles Jervas

Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, standing three-quarter-length, in a black velvet coat, wearing the Star and Riband of the Order of the Garter

Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, standing three-quarter-length, in a black velvet coat, wearing the Star and Riband of the Order of the Garter

Estimate:

30,000 to - 40,000 GBP

Lot sold:

37,800

GBP

The Property of a Nobleman

Charles Jervas

County Offaly, Ireland 1675 - 1739 London

Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, standing three-quarter-length, in a black velvet coat, wearing the Star and Riband of the Order of the Garter


inscribed on the letter: To the Rt Hon.ble / Sir Robert Walpole

oil on canvas

unframed: 126 x 103.2 cm.; 49 5/8 x 40 5/8 in.

framed: 146.7 x 121.4 cm.; 57 3/4 x 47 3/4 in.

The canvas is lined, the paint surface is clean and the varnish is clear and even. Inspection under ultraviolet light appears to reveal two campaigns of minor retouching, one consisting of scattered and few, very fine lines to select areas of craquelure; the other consisting of retouchings which fluoresce lightly, around the sitter’s eyes, nose and mouth, in his cravat, and in the purse and letter. All of these appear to be cosmetic, and the painting is in overall very good condition, and requires no further intervention.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Possibly commissioned by the sitter in 1725, for his friends, Nicholas (d. 1767) and Dorothy Bacon, Shrubland Manor, Barham, Suffolk;
By descent to their son, Reverend Nicholas Bacon (d. 1795), Shrublands Manor, Suffolk;
Sir William Fowle Middleton (1748-1829), Shrublands Hall, Suffolk, upon purchasing the estate in 1795;
By descent to his son, Sir William Fowle Middleton (d. 1860);
By descent to his nephew, Admiral Sir George Nathaniel Broke Middleton (1812-87);
By descent to his daughter, Jane Ann Broke Middleton, later Lady de Saumarez (1853-1933);
Thence by inheritance to her grandson, James Victor Broke de Saumarez (b. 1924), Shrublands Hall, Suffolk;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 18 November 1964, lot 19 (as Sir G. Kneller), for £240 to Agnew;
With Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, from whom acquired for £400, in 1965, by
Sir John Plumb (1911-2001), Christ's College, Cambridge;
His posthumous sale, Cambridge, Cheffins, 14 May 2002, lot 15 (as Charles Jervas), where acquired.

J.H. Plumb, Sir Robert Walpole, vol. II, The King's Minister, London 1972, p. 101, note 1;

J. Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, London 1977, vol. I, p. 201, reproduced vol. II, fig. 586 (as attributed to Kneller);

E. Bottoms, 'Charles Jervas: Walpole and the Norfolk Whigs', in Apollo, February 1997, p. 44, reproduced p. 45, fig. 2 (as on panel);

A. Matikkala, The Orders of Knighthood and the formation of the British Honours System 1660-1760, Woodbridge 2008, p. 348, partially reproduced in colour, plate XIII.


ENGRAVED

John Simon.

This portrait is one of the earliest known of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first 'Prime Minister' and one of the country's greatest statesmen. Walpole was a Member of Parliament for over forty years, from 1701-42. He was expelled from the House of Commons after the Whig downfall of 1712, but upon the Party's return to power, became First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer between both 1715-17 and 1721-42.


Walpole revived the Order of the Bath in 1725, in which both he and his son were installed, and the following year he became a Knight of the Garter. The present portrait is an important record of both these occurrences. Jervas originally depicted the sitter as Chancellor of the Exchequer with the embroidered silk purse of the Chancellor's seal, wearing the crimson sash of the Order of the Bath (still visible below the end of the white lace collar), but subsequently altered this to the more prestigious Order of the Garter, changing the colour of the sash to blue, and adding the star of the Garter.


This portrait is possibly one of three that Walpole is known to have commissioned from Jervas for his friends in 1725.1 The fact that it descended in the De Saumarez collection strongly suggests that it was previously in the ownership of the Bacons, supporters of Walpole, whose estate subsequently passed into the Middleton and then De Saumarez families (see Provenance). Jervas painted other portraits of Walpole, one of which still hangs at Houghton Hall, Norfolk;2 he became the 'King's Principal Painter' in 1723, thanks in large part to Walpole's influence. Jervas also advised on and acquired works for Walpole's famous collection at Houghton, which was subsequently sold en bloc to Catherine the Great of Russia.


This portrait was formerly in the collection of the late Sir John Plumb, historian and Walpole's biographer. He hung this painting in his rooms at Christ's College, Cambridge.


1 The single surviving document in the Walpole Papers of 1725 (Cholmondeley (Houghton) MSS Vouchers, 1725, Cambridge University Library) relates Jervas' association with Walpole and records three commissioned portraits, though for whom they were intended is not detailed.

2 See Kerslake 1977, vol. I, p. 201, reproduced vol. II, fig. 584. Another portrait, very similar to the present work, is known through an engraving by Henry Robinson, recorded in the collection of Thomas Walpole in 1829 (its current whereabouts are now unknown, however): https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1920-1211-1027