- Museum number
- Object: The Honble Augustus Keppel, Admiral of the blue
Portrait after Reynolds (Mannings 1040) half-length, turned towards the front and looking to the left, attired in uniform; scratched letter proof. 1779
Mezzotint with some scratching
- Production date
Height: 453 millimetres
Width: 326 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This print was engraved after one of two versions of the painting, hanging in the National Maritime Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. See David Mannings: 'Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings', no.1040.
Text from 'Gainsborough and Reynolds in the BM', BM 1984, cat.130:
Keppel was one of Reynolds' earliest patrons, and had taken him to Italy in 1749. Seven portraits of him by Reynolds are known. In 1778 he was in command of the Channel Fleet at the Battle of Ushant. The action was indecisive, and Keppel was court-martialled at the instigation of his second-in-command, Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser. The strong public feeling which the case aroused was largely political in origin, for Keppel was closely associated with the leaders of the Whig opposition party. On 12 February 1779 he was honourably acquitted, and became a public hero. On the same day Reynolds wrote him a letter of congratulation ('Letters', p. 68), which concludes: "I have taken the liberty, without waiting for leave, to lend your picture to an engraver, to make a large print from it". As mentioned in the introduction to Clifford et al., 1978, this is the only documented case of Reynolds' selecting the engraver. The print was published on 12th March, and would clearly have been made as quickly as possible to catch the immediate interest. A month therefore was the minimum time necessary to scrape a plate of this size.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984 London, BM, 'Gainsborough and Reynolds in the BM', cat.130
1986 Jan-Mar, London, Royal Academy, 'Sir Joshua Reynolds'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- £242 was the total paid for the group 1840,0808.1 to 203. Individual prices are sometimes recorded, and have been noted on the records.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number