Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Self-Portrait, aged 31 

John Raphael Smith (1752-1812)

Self-Portrait, aged 31, John Raphael Smith
Pastel on paper, laid onto canvas
18th Century
10 7/10 x 9 inches, 27.3 x 22.9cms
Collection of E E Leggatt by 1914; English Private Collection.
R. Edwards, ‘J. R. Smith and his pupils’, The Connoisseur, Vol. 93 (1934), p.96; Richard Walker, National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits (London 1985), Vol.I, p.460.
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Smith began his career as an apprentice to a linen draper, but scraped his first mezzotint in 1769 and eventually became the most celebrated producer of prints of the period. He was also a painter, and had a particular talent for portraiture in pastel, which provided him with a lucrative practice of up to forty sitters a week at two guineas a head. His patrons included prominent Whigs such as the Duke of Bedford, Lord Holland and Charles James Fox. The present pastel is thought to be Smith’s first self-portrait.
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