Portrait of a seated middle-aged gentleman who has short white hair and dark eyes and eyebrows. He sits informally, with one arm round the curved wood veneer back of his chair, and his knees apart to reveal its red velvet seat. He wears a dark green tailcoat, double breasted with two rows of metal buttons and roll collar with black velvet facing to the back. His yellow buckskin breeches have buttons visible at his right knee. At his neck is a white cravat with a touch of blue. He holds his gloves in one hand and a hat in the other. In the background to the left, a fluted column is just visible, partially hidden by a red drape.
Grand Tour and Grand Style The Influence of Travel Improvements in European travel during the 1700s had a wide-ranging impact on British culture. A particularly significant influence was the Grand Tour, which became almost obligatory for young gentlemen. Grand Tourists were led across Europe by tutors to study art, history and politics for two or three years. The Grand Tour focused on Italy, particularly Rome, and often incorporated new archaeological sites such as those at Herculaneum and Pompei, near Naples. Ancient antiquities were heavily trafficked across Europe and continental works of art flooded into Britain. A period of especially active collecting took place between the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 and the rise of Napoleon in the 1790s. As more artists and designers also visited the continent their work became increasingly informed by travel. The serious themes of classical antiquity and European art led to a new departure in painting called the Grand Style. This championed classical, historical or literary subjects, and inspired radical changes in portraiture and landscape. Widespread interest in Greek and Roman remains also fostered fresh interpretations of ancient designs by pioneers of decorative art such as Josiah Wedgwood.
Canvas: 128.7cm x 102.7cm
Place of creation
© Manchester Art Gallery