Portrait of George de Ligne Gregory (1740 - 1822)

Object Details


Portrait of George de Ligne Gregory (1740 - 1822)


John Russell, R.A. (English, 1745 - 1806)






Pastel on paper, laid on canvas


75.9 × 63.2 cm (29 7/8 × 24 7/8 in.)

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John Russell's engaging portrait of George de Ligne Gregory was likely painted to celebrate Gregory's appointment as High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1793. Gregory, the holder of Harlaxton Manor, is shown wearing the sober, sensible garments typical of a nobleman in the early 1790s: a brown double-breasted wool coat with black collar set against a brilliant white linen cravat. In his hand he casually holds a black hat lined with glowing white satin. Gregory's hat and collar are covered with white powder from his fashionably dressed hair. He is somberly yet richly dressed, alert yet seated at ease. Gregory's decorous pose embodies Russell's ideal of depicting the sitter in a manner appropriate to his age.

The portrait's brilliant whites, velvety blacks, and masterful interplay of varied flesh tones with blues are all characteristics of Russell's virtuoso application of pastel. Russell achieved the even tonality by manually smudging broad, soft areas of crayon onto the paper. He then applied fine, linear flourishes, such as the white highlighting on the cravat and in the hat lining, with a hard, pointed crayon. Russell's technical facility and acute powers of observation resulted in an engaging representation of the sitter.

1793 -

George de Ligne Gregory, 1740 - 1822, by inheritance to his heirs.


Heirs of George de Ligne Gregory, 1740 - 1822, by inheritance to J.A. Cheese.


Rev. J. A. Cheese (New Bilton Vicarage, Rugby, England)

- 1978

Private Collection [possibly withdrawn, Sotheby's, London, March 16, 1978, lot 149.]

- 1998

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, April 8, 1998, lot 95.]


Possibly Private Collection (England)
Source: Reported to be in a private collection, England, December 2000.


Possibly Elizabeth Royer (Paris, France)

by 2001

Derek Johns, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Fashionable Likeness: Pastel Portraits in 18th-Century Britain (November 1, 2016 to May 7, 2017)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 1, 2016 to May 7, 2017

Williamson, George C. John Russell, R.A. (London: George Bell and Sons, 1894), p. 139.

Sotheby Parke Bernet, London. Important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century English Drawings and Watercolours. March 16, 1978, pp. 108-9, lot 149, ill.

Sotheby's, London. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century British Drawings and Watercolours. April 8, 1998, p. 56, lot 95, ill.

Jeffares, Neil, s.v. "Russell, John." In Dictionary of Pastellists Before 1800 (London: Unicorn Press, 2006), p. 454, ill.

Jeffares, Neil, s.v. "Russell, John." In Dictionary of Pastellists Before 1800, http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/Russell1.pdf (accessed November 12, 2015; pdf dated September 22, 2015), p. 6, ill.