George Romney (Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire 1734-1802 Kendal, Cumbria)
George Romney (Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire 1734-1802 Kendal, Cumbria)

Portrait of Richard Newman Harding (1756-1808), full length, in a pink coat and breeches, with a dog in a wooded landscape

George Romney (Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire 1734-1802 Kendal, Cumbria)
Portrait of Richard Newman Harding (1756-1808), full length, in a pink coat and breeches, with a dog in a wooded landscape
oil on canvas
68¼ x 50¼ in. (173.4 x 127.6 cm.)

By descent from the sitter to B. Newman Harding, until 1890.
Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918), from whom acquired through F.B. Henson for £8,000, probably before 1892, by the following,
Michael Arthur Bass, 1st Baron Burton (1837-1909), by whom placed in the Drawing Room, Chesterfeld House, Mayfair, and by descent at Chesterfeld House and Needwood.

H. Ward and W. Roberts, Romney: A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1904, II, p. 112.
C.H. Collins Baker, British Painting, 1933, p. 114, pl. 77.
R.J.B. Walker, ‘New Portraits at Number Ten’, Country Life, 15 June 1972, pp. 1534-6.
A. Kidson, George Romney 1734-1802, exhibition catalogue, London, 2002, p. 83, under no. 30.
London, Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition: Exhibition of works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School, 1889-90, no. 136.
London, Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition: British Portraits, 1956-57, no. 330.
London, Kenwood House, George Romney: Paintings and Drawings, 1961, no. 16.
Birmingham City Art Gallery, on loan, 1963-1972.
London, No. 10 Downing Street, on loan, 1972-1987.
London, No. 11 Downing Street, on loan, 1987-2001.
Leeds Castle, on loan, 2001-2014.

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Abbie Barker

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Lot Essay

This striking full-length portrait of the young Richard Newman Harding was painted by Romney in circa 1770-71, the moment when the artist was establishing his reputation as one of the leading society portraitists in London.

The sitter was the only son of Benjamin Harding (d. 1766) of Blue Hole, Jamaica, and Hacton House, Essex, and Sarah Newman (d. 1780). In 1776 he married Harriet, daughter of Francis Matthew Schütz of Gillingham Hall, Norfolk. Schütz, the third cousin to Frederick, Prince of Wales, was a drinking companion of William Hogarth and was notoriously painted by the artist vomiting into his chamber pot whilst lying in bed with a hangover (Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery), a work supposedly commissioned by his new wife as a lesson in temperance. A notable huntsman, Harding acquired the Manor of Nelmes, Hornchurch, in 1781 and two years later took the additional surname Newman.

A characteristic work of the period, Romney’s bravura brushwork is combined with passages of masterfully subtle observation, a quality that is most charmingly realised in the attentive dog by Harding’s feet. The sitter’s splendid van Dyck costume can be compared with the Harrow School Archery Dress worn by John Sayer in Romney’s portrait of 1770 (London, Harrow School). These two portraits, along with that of Sir George Warren in The Warren Family (private collection), constitute the earliest examples of the influence that van Dyck’s portraiture had on the artist. It is tempting to imagine that this sartorial link with Lord Burton’s alma mater appealed to the collector.

This portrait will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s paintings being prepared by Alex Kidson, to whom we are grateful for his assistance in the cataloguing of this picture.

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