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Jonathan Richardson Sen. (1665-1745)

Jonathan Richardson Sen. (1665-1745) Three Studies of the Head of Alexander Pope (1688-1744) the first indistinctly inscribed 'Pope' and dated 22 Feb. 1736; the second inscribed 'Pope by the Life' and dated 5 Feb. 1734/5; the third inscribed 'Mr. Pope' and dated 13 Jan. 1737 two with Richardson Senior's collector's mark (L.2184) (verso) and the third with Richardson Junior's collector's mark (L.2170) (recto) pencil on vellum 5¼ x 3½in. (13.3 x 9cm.) 4 x 3½in. (10.2 x 9cm.) 5 x 4in. (12.7 x 10.2cm.)three in one mount
Acquired by Dr. Dallas Pratt in England in the 1930s
W. K. Wimsatt, The Portraits of Alexander Pope, 1965, pp. 172-3, no. 26, pp. 175, 177, no. 34, pp. 178-9, no. 37, all illustrated

Lot Essay

Three other portrait studies of Pope, on vellum, are in the Royal Collection at Windsor (nos. 13538-40); they were drawn for Horace Walpole, and were included in the Strawberry Hill sale (see R. Garnett and E. Gosse, English Literature: An Illustrated Record, 1903, iii, pp. 204-5). Another study is in the British Museum (1902-8-22-17), which also has Richardson Junior's collector's mark, and is dated 31 January 1733; in this the sitter is wearing a laurel wreath.

Richardson Senior had known the Pope family for several years, painting both Mr. and Mrs. Pope in 1703 and 1717. His friendship with the sitter began in about 1716, and the earliest portrait drawing dates from about two years later. Richardson made numerous studies of Pope throughout his life, of which about thirty-five survive. He painted him in oils several times, and examples are at Boston, in the Fitzwilliam and the National Portrait Gallery. For discussion of the portraits and their versions, see J. Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, I, text, pp. 220-1


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