- Museum number
Portrait of Charles Harbert; head and shoulders of a young man, three-quarters to right, looking r. 1826
Watercolour over graphite
- Production date
Height: 236 millimetres
Width: 169 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The following text is from S. Lloyd and K. Sloan, 'The Intimate Portrait' (exh. SNPG & BM, 2008-9), cat. no. 143:
John Linnell 'painted portraits to live, but lived to paint poetical landscapes' (autobiography, p. 16, cited in Payne). He was the son of a London frame-maker and picture dealer and learned to paint by copying paintings by Morland for his father. He was apprenticed to his father the year after he entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1805 and became a pupil of John Varley. He was particularly close to Mulready with whom he sketched in oil from nature and was also one of a long succession of artists who studied and copied drawings in the collection of Dr Monro. He exhibited oils and landscapes at the RA and was a founding member of the Society of Painters in Oil and Water Colours.
He was introduced to William Blake in 1818 and joined his circle of patrons, artists and writers interested in the study of Renaissance art. Linnell met Samuel Palmer in 1822 and it is his friendship with these two 'visionary' artists and their circles that Linnell is now remembered for. His heart and artistic support and inclinations may have been with them, but his need to support his growing family meant his business was painting portraits. He began with miniatures around 1816 and between 1824 and 1846 nearly all his exhibits at the RA were portraits in miniature, watercolour and oil - of royal and aristocratic patrons, as well as less well known sitters.
Charles Harbert may have been one of the men who worked on the house Linnell built in Bayswater and were sometimes paid in kind. Watercolour was the least expensive type of portrait that could be made and Linnell normally charged 5 guineas for watercolours on Bristol board. Harbert is a relatively uncommon name; the will of Charles Harbert the elder, a carpenter of Charlton Street, Fitzroy Square left his estate (including the leasehold on six premises in Clapham) to his wife Philly and his two eldest sons, William and Charles the younger (proved 18 January 1826, PROB 11/1707, ref. 161), but we cannot be certain this son is the Charles Harbert here.
However, the Harberts may also fall into the category of friends, family and fellow artists who Linnell constantly sketched, as there is a lovely large full length black and red chalk study of Mrs Harbert in the Museum's collection (BM 1919,0712.99).
SELECTED LITERATURE: LB1, 2; C. Payne, 'John Linnell', Oxford DNB
See also BM 1890.0512.114
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2008/9 Oct-Jan, Edinburgh, SNPG, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 143
2009 Mar-May, London, BM, Room 90, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 143
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number