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Attributed to James Northcote  Portrait Painting - 18th Century English Romantic School Portrait of an Artist in a Green Jacket.
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Attributed to James Northcote
18th Century English Romantic School Portrait of an Artist in a Green Jacket.

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18TH CENTURY PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST - ATTRIBUTED TO JAMES NORTHCOTE (1756-1831) A fine, vibrant and highly decorative 18th century oil on canvas ‘Portrait of an Artist’ originally thought to be the by the hand of Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), this painting is now firmly attributed to John Northcote. This fine work provides a striking and compelling image of the eighteenth-century artist in the great outdoors. The as yet unknown artist, is depicted with the tools of his trade – his palette, brushes, mahl stick and, on the pedestal at the bottom left, paint filled animal bladders, a means of transporting paints before the arrival of the more familiar lead tubes in the following century – and prepared to paint outdoors, exposed to the elements, the painter here is the very image of the Romantic artist. It may be that the work is a self-portrait – of which genre Northcote executed numerous examples – but the ambitious three-quarter-length composition showing the artist in movement, rather than studying his features closely in a mirror, suggest instead that it may be a portrait of another artist, a friend and colleague perhaps. This portrait is in an excellent state of conservation and is presented ready to hang in a fine antique gilded Carlo Maratta style frame. James Northcote (1746-1831) Born in Plymouth, James Northcote was the son of a watchmaker, one of seven children only three of whom survived to adulthood. In deciding to become a painter, Northcote followed in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather, although this was to the displeasure of his father who, noting his grandfather’s lack of success, wagered that watchmaking was a far more stable profession. Northcote was determined, however, and in spite of his father’s wishes, left for London at five o’clock on Whitsunday 1771 with his brother Samuel. Securing an introduction to Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), himself a Devon boy, Northcote impressed the greatest English artist of the age enough that he was taken on as his pupil. He remained in Reynolds’s studio for some five years, specialising as a painter of draperies and other details in the master’s society portraits. He even at times worked as a model for Reynolds, appearing, for instance, as one of the young men in Reynolds’s Ugolino and his Children in the Dungeon. Ultimately, however, Northcote found his time in Reynolds’s highly competitive studio frustrating and, in 1776, decided to leave, travelling to the Continent the following year in order to acquire the kind of experience that had, in his own day, helped to establish Reynolds’s reputation. In 1780, after three years abroad, Northcote had returned, heading straight to London where, after an abortive first start and brief return to Plymouth, he succeeded in setting up a studio. Although he worked as a portraitist throughout his career, mainly of naval subjects and figures with Devon connections, Northcote also developed a specialism in fancy pictures, illustration and, after 1784, modern history painting. His pioneering work in this latter category helped award him election as an associate member to the Royal Academy in November 1786, which was closely followed by full membership in February of the following year. Northcote continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy every year almost without fail until 1825. Northcote continued to work into his old age; when in 1828, aged over eighty, he painted the portrait of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), the novelist remarked that he had looked like ‘an animated mummy’. He died three years later, a wealthy and successful man. Higher resolution images on request. Worldwide shipping available. Canvas: 50” x 40” / 127cm x 102cm. Frame: 58" x 48" / 148cm x 122cm. Internal Ref: 00100

Details

  • Artist
    Attributed to James Northcote
  • Medium
  • Period
  • Dimensions
    H 58 in. x W 48 in. x D 4 in.H 147.32 cm x W 121.92 cm x D 10.16 cm
  • Gallery Location
    London/Yorkshire, GB
  • Reference Number
    LU58935508452
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Located in London/Yorkshire, GB
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