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Creator:
Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1769–1830, British
Title:

George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, later first Baron Dover

Former Title(s):

George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, later first Lord Dover

George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, later 1st Lord Dover

Dover, George, 1st Baron

Dover, George, Lord

Date:
1823 to 1824
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 36 x 29 inches (91.4 x 73.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1981.25.411
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
coat | costume | fabric | fur | hand | man | neckcloth | portrait | seated | stock | texture
Associated People:
Agar-Ellis, George James Welbore, first Baron Dover (1797–1833), politician and patron of art
Access:
On view in the galleries
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:896
Export:
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The Honorable George Agar-Ellis (1797–1833), MP, FRS, FSA, (later first Baron Dover) was the only son of the second Viscount Clifden and sat as a Whig member of Parliament, where he supported Catholic emancipation. In July 1823, in a speech in the House of Commons, he urged the government to purchase the collection of John Julius Angerstein (1735–1823), an insurance broker and connoisseur of art, and use it as the foundation of a future national art collection in London. The proposal was ultimately successful, and in due course Agar-Ellis became a trustee of the new National Gallery, and of the British Museum. A good friend of Sir Thomas Lawrence, he joined the future prime ministers Sir Robert Peel and Lord Aberdeen as a pallbearer at Lawrence’s funeral in 1830, to which the king and many other noble households sent empty carriages in procession, the usual method of paying tribute.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016



The Hon. George Agar-Ellis, M.P., F.R.S., F.S.A. (1797–1833) (later 1st Baron Dover), was the only son of the second Viscount Clifden, and sat as a Tory member of the House of Commons, where he supported Catholic emancipation. In July 1823, in a speech in the House, Agar-Ellis urged the British government to purchase the collection of the insurance broker and connoisseur of art John Julius Angerstein (ca. 1732–1823), and use it as the foundation of a future national art collection in London. The proposal was ultimately successful, and in due course Lord Dover became a trustee of the new National Gallery, and of the British Museum. He was a good friend of Sir Thomas Lawrence and, in 1830, he joined the future prime ministers Sir Robert Peel and Lord Aberdeen as a pallbearer at Lawrence’s funeral, to which the king and many other noble households sent empty carriages in procession, the usual method of paying tribute.

Gallery label for Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)



The Honorable George Agar-Ellis, M.P., F.R.S., F.S.A. (1797-1833) (later 1st Baron Dover) was the only son of the second Viscount Clifden, and sat as a Tory member of the House of Commons, where he supported Catholic emancipation. In July 1823, in a speech in the House, Agar-Ellis urged the government to purchase the collection of the insurance broker and connoisseur of art John Julius Angerstein (ca. 1732-1823), and use it as the foundation of a future national art collection in London. The proposal was ultimately successful, and in due course Lord Dover became a trustee of the New National Gallery, and of the British Museum. He was a good friend of Sir Thomas Lawrence and, in 1830, he joined the future prime ministers Sir Robert Peel and Lord Aberdeen as a pallbearer at Lawrence's funeral, to which the king and many other noble households sent empty carriages in procession, the usual method of paying tribute.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005
This elegant portrait is a testament to the relationship of mutual respect and friendship between the artist and his subject, George James Welbore Agar-Ellis (1797–1833). Agar-Ellis, a politician and art lover, had persuaded the British government to purchase the Angerstein collection of paintings (which Lawrence had effectively curated) as the nucleus for the National Gallery. Lawrence and Agar-Ellis established a firm friendship based on mutual regard, and the artist was later commissioned to paint Agar-Ellis’s wife and young son in a charming double portrait (1827–28; private collection). Agar-Ellis served as one of Lawrence’s pallbearers.

The virtuosity of this portrait can in part be explained by the extraordinary amount of time and labor that Lawrence invested in it. Twelve sittings are recorded in Agar-Ellis’s diary between October 1823 and May 1824, several lasting for three or more hours (Northamptonshire Records Office, Annaly of Holdenby Collection, ref. X1384). The sitter’s handsome features are complimented by a masterfully painted costume of velvet and fur, referred to in Agar-Ellis’s diary as a “crimson =Titian-like pelisse,” which Lawrence had personally selected for the portrait. The face is painted smoothly in comparison with the slash of blue ribbon and the bristling fur. A second white highlight glimmers in Agar-Ellis’s right pupil, a trick that Lawrence used to suggest the glassy moisture of the human eye with remarkable fidelity.

Considered the consummate portrayer of female beauty, Lawrence here delineates an equally compelling vision of masculinity. The portrait—a study in soft curves, beginning with the sitter’s mop of brown curls and his delicately crimped pinky finger and extending through his relaxed posture—proves that Lawrence’s penchant for sinuous torsos and sloping shoulders was not reserved for his female sitters.

Cassandra Albinson

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 281, no. 83, pl. 83, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Cassandra Albinson, Thomas Lawrence, Regency power & brilliance , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2010, pp. 269-71..., No. 49, NJ18 L42 T56 2010 + (YCBA)

Walter Armstrong, Lawrence, Methuen & co., ltd., London, 1913, p. 127, NJ18 L42 A75 (YCBA) Also Available Online (ORBIS)

Geoffrey Ashton, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Chaucer Press, London, 2006, pp. 116-17, pl. 42, NJ18 L42 A76 2007 + (YCBA)

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 281, no. 83, pl. 83, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, pp. 250-1, fig. 31, N5220 M552 A7 1977 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Published as April 1977 issue of Apollo; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 105:2 +]

Kelly Compton, Thomas Lawrence, Still Brilliant, Two Centuries On , Fine Art Connoisseur, vol. 8, no. 3, June, 2011, p. 33, Not Available at Yale

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 142-43, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Dr. Kenneth Garlick, A Catalogue of the Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence, Volume of the Walpole Society, v. 39, Walpole Society, 1962-1964, p. 69, N12 W35 A1 39 + (YCBA)

Dr. Kenneth Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, a complete catalogue of the oil paintings , Phaidon, Oxford, 1989, p. 133, no. 13, pl. 56, NJ18 L42 G376 (YCBA)

Dr. Kenneth Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, portraits of an age, 1790-1830 , Art Services International, Alexandria, Va., 1993, pp.22-23, no. 2, NJ18 L42 G377 1993 + (YCBA)

Dr. Kenneth Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1954, p. 23, NJ18 L42 G37 (YCBA)

George Welbore Agar-Ellis, Lord Dover, Connoisseur, Vol. 166, September 1967, p. 1ii, N1 C75 + (YCBA)

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 40, ND466 G67 (YCBA)

Ronald Sutherland Gower, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Goupil, J. Boussod, Manzi, Joyant, successors, London New York, 1900, p. 124, NJ18 L42 G7 + (YCBA)

Clements R. Markham, Markham memorials, Spottiswoode & Co., London, 1913, pp. 73, 86, 195, Bb39m O19 (LSF)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Marcia R. Pointon, Portrayal and the search for identity, Reaktion Books, London, 2013, pp. 105-07, 109, Illus. 33, N7575 .P6452 2013 (YCBA)

R. J. B. Walker, Regency portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1985, p. 161 (vol. 1), N1090 A592 (YCBA)

Ellis Waterhouse, An Impressive Panorama of British Portraiture, Apollo, v. 105, no. 182, April 1977, p. 250-1, fig. 31, N1 A54 + (YCBA) Another copy of this article may be found in a separately bound and catalogued copy of this issue located on the Mellon Shelf [call number : N5220 M552 A7 1977 + (YCBA)]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 41, N590.2 A82 (YCBA)

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 41, 715 Y18 977b (YCBA)


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