George Beare

Portrait of a Gentleman, possibly Hugh Marriott


Not on display

George Beare active 1743–1749
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 759 × 632 mm
Purchased 1958

Display caption

The sitter is tentatively identified as Hugh Marriott of Spelmonden, Kent, who died in 1754. The family came originally from the West Country, with which most of Beare's portraits seem to be associated.
Little is known about Beare. The fifty or so portraits signed by him are all dated between 1744 and 1749, in which year he died at Andover, Hampshire. He was evidently a portrait painter of considerable talent whose work suggests close acquaintance with the portraits of Joseph Highmore and particularly Hogarth, with both of whom he has been sometimes confused with more justice than usual.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

T00201 Portrait of a Gentleman, Possibly Hugh Marriott 1746

Oil on canvas 759×632 (29 7/8×24 7/8)
Inscribed ‘Geo; Beare’. b.l. and ‘Pinxt 1746.’ b.r., along edge of false oval
Purchased (Cleve Fund) 1958
PROVENANCE ...; in the possession of the Smith-Marriott family, Horsmonden Rectory, Kent, until sold by Geering & Colyer of Hawkhurst, Kent, in 1944 (firm's wartime records destroyed) bt Francis Harper...; anon. sale Sotheby's 28 January 1948 (100 as one of a pair) bt Colnaghi, and sold 27 May 1948 on their behalf by Knoedler to F.G. Rye, CBE; his son E.B. Rye, sold Christie's 27 June 1958 (86) bt by the Tate Gallery
LITERATURE Collins-Baker 1958, p.572, fig.5

The sitter has been tentatively identified as Hugh Marriott of Spelmonden, Horsmonden, Kent, who died in 1754, aged forty-three. (See also The Gentleman's Magazine, XXIV, 1754, p.95, where a Hugh Marriotte of Tooke's Court is recorded as having died 14 February; this is probably one and the same man. The compilers are indebted to the Revd W.F.E. Peareth, a descendant of the Smith-Marriott family, for his kind assistance.)

Throughout the eighteenth century, before assuming the name Marriott in 1811, the Smith ancestors of this family resided chiefly in the West Country. In view of the fact that most of Beare's identified portraits seem to be connected with that region, the portrait could have entered the Smith-Marriott collection from any of the family's numerous ramifications there.

In 1948 this portrait was sold as a pair to a ‘Gentleman in a Grey Coat with Embroidered Waistcoat, in a painted oval, signed and dated 1747’ (bt Colnaghi and probably the same as Christie's 27 July 1956, lot 83 bt Dent), but it is not possible to establish if both portraits came from the Smith-Marriott collection.

Published in:
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988


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