Manchester Art Gallery

A Gentleman

Object description

A head-and-shoulders portrait of a gentleman, whose body is turned slightly to the right. He wears a grey wig and a turquoise blue jacket. His wig is shoulder-length, but it is hard to see where it finishes, as both the wig and the plain background are very dark. The portrait is contained within an oval, the feigned black surround being only just discernable. Beneath his jacket is visible a white cravat, and a double-breasted waistcoat with ermine-faced lapels and decorative gold buttons in a diagonal line, marking him out as a fashionable gentleman in the 1730s. Both jacket and waistcoat have copious gold embroidery.

Display label

A Gentleman 1739 William Hogarth 1697-1764 Oil on canvas The unknown sitter wears a double-breasted waistcoat with fur-faced lapels and diagonal buttons. This was a fashionable outfit during the 1730s. While Hogarth is best known for his satirical prints, he was also England's most accomplished portraitist during the early-to-mid eighteenth century. This example dates from his most prolific period, when he gave a more painterly quality to portraiture. Hogarth was a patriotic pioneer for British painting at a time when most collectors bought foreign art. He established the St Martin's Lane Academy, a forerunner of the Royal Academy. Purchased 1928.119