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Katharine Read, 1723–1778
Formerly unknown artist eighteenth century
Formerly attributed to James Russel, 1720–1763
Formerly attributed to David Allan, 1744–1796
Formerly attributed to Nathaniel Dance, 1735–1811

British Gentlemen in Rome

Former Title(s):

Connoisseurs in Rome [1992, Sites & sensibilities: five centuries of Roman views, exhibition catalogue]

British Mi'Lords in Rome

English Connoisseurs in Rome [1964-1965, Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhibition catalogue]

ca. 1750
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
37 1/4 × 53 inches (94.6 × 134.6 cm), Frame: 45 1/2 × 61 × 3 inches (115.6 × 154.9 × 7.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
arch | architectural subject | connoisseurship | conversation piece | genre subject | Grand Tour | hats | men | portrait | rocks (landforms) | sitting | swords
Associated Places:
Arch of Constantine | Colosseum | Italy | Lazio | Roma | Rome
Associated People:
Turner, Sir Charles (1727–1783), 1st Baronet, of Kirkleatham, Yorkshire
Steavans, Thomas (ca. 1728–?1759)
Lowther, Sir William (1727–1756), 3rd Baronet, of Marske, Yorkshire
Caulfeild, James, first earl of Charlemont (1728–1799), politician
Brudenell-Bruce, Thomas (1729–1814), 1st Earl of Ailesbury
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Commissioned by Sir Charles Turner, 1st Baronet, of Kirkleatham, Yorkshire (1727-1783), one of the sitters, from Katharine Read (1723-1778), the artist, around 1750 [1]; by descent to his son, Sir Charles Turner, 2nd Baronet of Kirkleatham, Yorkshire (1773-1810); by descent to Sir Charles Turner, 2nd Baronet’s wife, Teresa Gleadowe-Newcomen (1775-1844); by descent to her second husband, Henry Vansittart (1784-1848); by descent to their daughter, Teresa Vansittart Newcomen (née Vansittart, 1813-1887); by descent to her son, Arthur Henry Turner Newcomen (1844-1884); by descent to his son, Gleadowe Henry Turner Newcomen (1877-1932) [2] [d]; by descent to his sister, Kathleen Teresa Turner Le Roy-Lewis (née Newcomen, 1865-1948); purchased by “purchasers of the Kirkleatham Hall Estate” [3] [a]; purchased at auction by “Bernard” at Sotheby’s, London, England, March 23, 1949 (lot 42, ‘A Group of six Gentlemen in Rome (probably including Sir Charles Turner), engaged in conversation, with the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus in the Background’ by Reynolds) in “Fine Paintings” [b]; … ; acquired by Nellie Ionides (née Samuel, 1883-1962) by 1955 [4]; purchased at auction by Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd at Sotheby’s, London, England, May 29, 1963 (lot 93 “English Connoisseurs in Rome, a group of six gentleman grouped in conversation, the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus in the background” by Sir Nathaniel Dance, R.A.), in “Fine Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Drawings and Paintings,” for Paul Mellon (1907-1999) [5] [c]; by whom given to the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1981.


[1] The nature of the commission, the subjects, and the artist’s identity are discussed in Margery Morgan, "British Connoisseurs in Rome: Was it painted by Katherine Read (1723-78)?" The British Art Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41614664?seq=3
[2] It appears that the painting remained at Kirkleatham and was thus “owned” by the various family members who were in residence at the estate during different times. According to ‘A History of Yorkshire North Riding’, Teresa Vansittart Newcomen and her husband moved into the house in 1848, following the death of her father, Henry Vansittart. Teresa’s son, Arthur Henry Turner Newcomen, assumed residency in Kirkleatham in 1867 while she was still alive. His son, Gleadowe Henry Turner Newcomen, then took up residency there in 1884, upon his father’s death.
[3] The work is part of a series of listings from the “Purchasers of the Kirkleatham Estate” in the auction catalog “Fine Paintings” Sotheby’s, London, England, March 23, 1949. An unnamed property investment company acquired Kirkleatham estate from the family in 1948 and thereafter sold off the contents of the estate.
[4] A label on the verso of this work for The Royal Academy of Arts’ Winter Exhibition of 1955-56 (“English Taste in the Eighteenth Century: From Baroque to Neo-Classic”), indicates that that work was by this date already in the collection of The Hon. Mrs Ionides, Buxted Park, Uckfield, Sussex.
[5] The Sotheby’s catalog includes a list of buyers, and lists “Agnew” as the buyer. A stamp on the painting’s verso for the dealers Thomas Agnew and Sons Ltd clarifies who “Agnew” was.


[a] Sotheby’s, London, England, March 23, 1949 (lot 42) in “Fine Paintings” https://search.worldcat.org/title/908836206
[b] Ibid
[c] Sotheby’s, London, England, May 29, 1963 in “Fine Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Drawings and Paintings” https://search.worldcat.org/title/171442538
[d] William Page [ed], A History of Yorkshire North Riding, Volume II (London: the Saint Catherine Press, 1923), 376. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Victoria_History_of_the_County_of_Yo/aZY4AQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1

Rome! (La Boverie, 2018-04-24 - 2018-08-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Rome : The Legacy of an Eternal City (The University of Arizona Museum of Art, 2015-09-12 - 2016-01-24) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Giuseppe Vasi's Rome - Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, 2010-09-25 - 2011-01-02) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Milltown (National Gallery of Ireland, 1997-10-15 - 1997-12-14) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Grand Tour - The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century (Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1997-02-05 - 1997-04-07) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Grand Tour - The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century (Tate Britain, 1996-10-10 - 1997-01-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Sites and Sensibilities - Views of Rome 1500-1992 (Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, 1992-09-01 - 1992-11-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Anglo-American Artist in Italy 1750-1820 (University Art Museum, Santa Barbara, 1982-04-07 - 1982-05-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Pursuit of Happiness - A View of Life in Georgian England (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-09-18) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Andaleeb Badiee Banta, Making her mark : a history of women artists in Europe, 1400-1800, Goose Lane Editions, Fredericton, NB, 2023, pp. 144, 208, no. 107, fig. 8, N8354 .M34 2023 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sergio Benedetti, The Milltowns, a family reunion , National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1997, pp. 48-9, no. 18, fig. 18, N5247 L447 B45 1997 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ilaria Bignamini, Digging and dealing in eighteenth-century Rome, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., London, 2010, p. 18, fig. 17, DG65 .B54 2010 + [ORBIS]

Jeremy Black, Italy and the grand tour, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2003, p. 156, fig. 34, DG424 B63 2003 (YCBA) [YCBA]

British paintings & works on paper, Lowell Libson Ltd., London, 2013, p. 68, 70, DealerCat Lowell Libson Ltd. (YCBA) [YCBA]

Duncan Brown, Viva Roma!: Artists and the Trip to Rome, Snoeck Publishers, Ghent, p. 77, cat. 44, N8214.5.I8 V59 2018 (LC) Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 36-37, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

English taste in the eighteenth century, from Baroque to neo-classic : winter exhibition, 1955-56. , Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1956, p. 88, no. 320, N6766 E541 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Anthony Fletcher, Gender, sex, and subordination in England 1500-1800, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1995, fig. 24, HQ1075.5 E5 F54 1995 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Lachlan Goudie, The Story of Scottish Art, Thames & Hudson, New York, p. 142, NX545.A1 G68 2020 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Mark Hallett, Reynolds : portraiture in action, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2014, p. 75, 80, fig. no. 61, NJ18.R36 H35 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

John T. Hayes, British Patrons and Landscape Painting 3: The Response to Nature in the Eighteenth Century, Apollo, v. 83, no. 52, June 1966, p. 444, fig. 1, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christopher Hibbert, The Grand Tour, Thames Methuen, London, 1987, p. 178, fig. 110, D907 H54 1987 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy, 1701-1800, compiled from the Brinsley Ford archive , Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997, p. 831, DG424 D53 1997 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Kirkleatham, a history of the village estate and Old Hall Museum. , Langbaurgh on Tees Museum Service, Kirkleatham [England], 1991, p. 9, DA664 K555 K57 1991 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Richard D. Leppert, Music and image, domesticity, ideology, and socio-cultural formation in eighteenth-century England , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] New York, 1988, p. 34, fig. 8, ML3795 L36 1988 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Michael J. McCarthy, Lord Charlemont and his circle, essays in honour of Michael Wynne , 1, Four Courts Press, Dublin Portland, OR, 2001, fig. 5.1, DA948.3 C2 L67 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Margery Morgan, British Connoisseurs in Rome : Was it painted by Katherine Read?, British Art Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, Spring/Summer 2006, p. 40-44, fig. 1, N6761 B74 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 63 (v.1), no. 229, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) [YCBA]

J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, pp. 36, 82, no. 30, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Maria Delores Sanchez-Jauregul, The English prize, the capture of the Westmorland, an episode of the grand tour , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2012, pp. 50, 51, fig. 29, N9135 .E54 2012 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Fine Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Drawings and Paintings : 29 May 1963, Sotheby's, London, May 29, 1963, p. 37, lot 93, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Fine paintings, etc. comprising English 18th century pictures . . . : 23 March 1949, Sotheby's, March 23, 1949, p. 6, lot 42, Film B12 (YCBA) [YCBA]

James Stourton, The British as art collectors, from the Tudors to the present , Scala Publishers, London, 2012, pp. 12, 13, fig. 8, N5245 S595 2012 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Roy C. Strong, The spirit of Britain, a narrative history of the arts , Hutchinson, London, 1999, p. 397, NX543 S763 1999 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Helmut Swozilek, Memorie istoriche di Maria Angelica Kauffmann Zucchi riguardanti l'arte della pittura da lei professata scritte da G.C.Z. (Giiuseppe Carlo Zucchi) Venezia MDCCLXXXVIII ¢, Bd. 2, Vorarlberger Landesmuseum, Bregenz, 1999, p. 100, fig. 38, NJ18 K218 S86 1999 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

James T. Tice, Giuseppe Vasi's Rome, lasting impressions from the age of the grand tour , Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, Or. Lanham, Md., 2010, p. 184, no. 106, NJ18 V442 A12 2010 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

John L. Varriano, Sites & sensibilities, five centuries of Roman views , Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA, 1992, V 0170 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Corlette Rossiter Walker, The Anglo-American artist in Italy, 1750-1820, University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, 7 March through 9 May 1982 , University Art Museum, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, 1982, p. 140, no. 13, N6917 W35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Andrew Wilton, The Grand tour, the lure of Italy in the eighteenth century , Tate Publishing, London, 1996, p. 88, no. 43, N8214.5 I8 G7 1996 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon : [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965, , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, pp. 1-2 (v.1), no. 4, ND466 Y35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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