A Gentleman in Red Velvet

Richardson, Jonathon (attributed), 1665 - 1745

A Gentleman in Red Velvet

Richardson, Jonathon (attributed) 1665 - 1745


Half-length, three-quarter left side early Georgian portrait of an unknown gentleman dressed in a red velvet jacket and hat, with a white cravat. This costume dates from c1740-1770. This style of informal dress of a turban and gown was fashionable well into the 1760s. There is a plain, dark background, and an oval frame. The red coat has stark, white highlights articulated by textured paintwork.

Display Label

A Gentleman in Red Velvet about 1740 Attributed to Jonathon Richardson 1665-1745 Oil on canvas The gentleman’s lively face is so similiar to known pictures of the artist that a self-portrait seems a reasonable identification. With no brush or palette to indicate an artistic profession, indeed, no hands at all, there is no distraction from the sitter’s physiognomy. We are free to imagine his entertaining conversation in the informal setting implied by his relaxed clothing. The highlights on the red velvet are crude but effectively draw our attention in the opposite way – towards the craft of painting. Richardson was a scholar of the works of writer John Milton and an art connoisseur, as well as a portrait painter. This painting plays knowingly with the self-image of such a man, of mind and hand. Royal Manchester Institution Gift 1973.291

Object Name

A Gentleman in Red Velvet

Date Created

1740-1745 (circa)


unframed: 75.4cm x 63cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Gift of the Royal Manchester Institution


© Manchester Art Gallery

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