Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland

Four Heads

?after 1782

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland 1735–1811
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 78 × 161 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

These two sketches are typical of the caricatures produced by Nathaniel Dance,
after his retirement from professional portrait painting in the early 1780s. The
type of caricature he produced was closely associated with gentlemen-amateurs.


Here Dance gently satirises the snobbery
and one-upmanship of polite society. A group of portly gentlemen compete to assert their social superiority. Dance, who had inherited
a large fortune, now counted himself
a cut above his artist friends. He became
a Member of Parliament in 1790. Ten years later he was granted a baronetcy, and took the name Holland, after his wife's cousin.

Gallery label, September 2004

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