T01894 Unknown Gentleman
Oil on canvas, 14 ¾ X11 ¾ (37.5X29.9)
Bequeathed by Alan Evans to the National Gallery and transferred to the Tate Gallery 1974
Coll/:. ..;? Thos. S. Elgood in 1895 (cf. inscription on reverse); sold by Agnew's to Alan Evans on behalf of a private client in 1960
Exh: Old Masters, Agnew's, 1960 (19)
The size of the barely indicated wig suggests a date of c.1715-20. The canvas, which has probably been cut down from a larger piece on which work had not yet begun, is chiefly interesting for illustrating a technique whereby the face-mask was brought to a comparatively high degree of finish against a neutral ground before the hair, collar and other parts of the composition were even sketched in. It is probably the product of a highly organised studio, where a number of painters worked along strictly specialised lines, e.g. drapery, backgrounds, hands etc.
The inscription in ink on the sttetcher, 'Sir Robert Walpole said to be painted by Reynolds', signed 'Thos. S. Elgood 1895', suggests that the painting could have belonged to the Elgood family ofWisbech at the date given.
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978