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Joseph Wright of Derby, A.R.A. (Derby 1734-1797)
Joseph Wright of Derby, A.R.A. (Derby 1734-1797)

Portrait of Ralph Sneyd (1723-1793), half-length, in a blue velvet coat

Joseph Wright of Derby, A.R.A. (Derby 1734-1797)
Portrait of Ralph Sneyd (1723-1793), half-length, in a blue velvet coat
oil on canvas
30 ½ x 25 ¾ in. (77.4 x 65.4 cm.)
in its original 18th century carved and gilded frame
By descent in the Sneyd family, Keele Hall, Staffordshire; their sale, Christie's, London, 27 June 1924, lot 85, as 'Allan Ramsay' (160 gns. to Buttery).
with Knoedler & Co., New York.
Dorothy D. M. Macauley; (†) Sotheby's, New York, 3 October 1996, lot 34, as 'Allan Ramsay' ($13,800).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 9 April 1997, lot 43, as 'Allan Ramsay' (£36,700).
with Philip Mould, London, as 'Allan Ramsay'.
Washington, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, June - August 1972.

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Lot Essay

The sitter was the son of Ralph Sneyd, M.P. for Staffordshire, and his wife Anne, daughter of Allen Holford of Davenham, Chester. On 17 April 1750 he married Barbara, daughter of Sir Walter Bagot of Blithfield, with whom he had eleven children. Sneyd was an early industrialist who built blast furnaces and iron works at Silverdale. By the mid 1770s he had an estate of about 6000 acres and by the 1780s his income was £5,000 per annum. By 1763 he had begun to rebuild the family seat, Keele Hall, which had been abandoned for three decades. After the house was completed in 1765, new furniture was ordered from Gillows and other sources. The park was landscaped by William Emes, the former head gardener at Kedleston Hall.

We are grateful to Brian Allen for proposing the attribution to Joseph Wright of Derby after inspection of the original. The portrait may have have been painted when the artist was in Thomas Hudson's studio, which he entered in 1751, or soon after his return to Derby in 1753.

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