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Johan Joseph Zoffany, 1733–1810
Warren Hastings
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
28 1/2 × 24 1/4 inches (72.4 × 61.6 cm), Frame: 34 3/4 × 30 5/8 × 2 3/8 inches (88.3 × 77.8 × 6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
Associated People:
Hastings, Warren (1732–1818), governor-general of Bengal
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

In 1783, the German-born painter Johan Zoffany sailed from London to India, intending to make his fortune or, as the artist Paul Sandby put it, to “roll in gold dust,” an ambition he was to achieve. On arrival in Calcutta, Zoffany was inundated with commissions for portraits from British residents eager to take advantage of his talents. His chief patron was Warren Hastings, the Governor-General of Bengal since 1772. Since the 1750s the East India Company had aggressively expanded its control over northern India. Corruption and financial mismanagement were widespread, and Hastings had been hired to impose order. He developed a well-oiled administrative machine and introduced reforms, but within a few years, rumors of military aggression, bribes, and excessive consumption of luxury goods were circulating. Zoffany painted at least four portraits of Hastings including this one, which shows the Governor-General dressed in plain clothes and showing signs of strain.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Johan Zoffany RA (Royal Academy of Arts, 2012-03-10 - 2012-06-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Johan Zoffany RA (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-10-27 - 2012-02-12) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Mildred Archer, India and British Portraiture, 1770-1825, Sotheby Parke Bernet, London, 1979, pp. 135-152, , ND 1327 I44 A72 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Artists and Migration 1400 - 1850 : Britain, Europe and beyond, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2017, p. 153, fig. 9-1, N8217 E53 A785 2017 (YCBA) [YCBA]

English pictures for the country house : An exhibition of eighteenth and early nineteenth century conversation pieces, portraits, and sporting pictures in period rooms. . . : May 30 - July 25, 1986, Leger Gallery, May 30-July 25, 1986, unpaginated, lot 18, Auction Catalogues (YCBA)

Johan Zoffany, Connoisseur, vol. 202, November 1979, p. 4, N1 +C75 vol. 202 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sir Arthur Knapp, A Catalogue of the Known Portraits of Warren Hastings (1782-1818) : first Govenor General of Bengal, England, 1935, p. 3, no. 8, V2445 (YCBA) [YCBA]

London Salerooms : A Scottish art collection, Scotsman, August 18, 1942, p. 3, Available online via ProQuest Historical Newspapers : The Scotsman

Victoria Manners, John Zoffany, R.A. His Life and Works. 1735-1810, , John Lane, London, 1920, p. 98, NJ18.Z68 +M3 1920 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Joanna Marschner, Enlightened Princesses : Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn, 2017, p. 471, fig. 28.21, NX543 +.E55 2017 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Our London Correspondence : The Paris Conference, Manchester Guardian, December 7, 1932, p. 8, Available online via ProQuest Historical Newspapers : The Guardian and The Observer

Martin Postle, Johan Zoffany, RA : Society Observed, , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2011, p. 144, no. 129, NJ18 Z68 + A12 2011 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Story of the A. T. S. : Four years old : A notable record, Scotsman, September 26, 1942, p. 4, Available online via ProQuest Historical Newspapers : The Scotsman

Penelope Treadwell, Johan Zoffany : Artist and Adventurer, , Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2009, p. 347, NJ18 Z68 T74 2009 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Mary Webster, Johan Zoffany, 1733-1810, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2011, pp. 464-467, no. 349, NJ18 Z68 W43 2011 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

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