Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Jonathan Swift 1667 - 1745 1725c.

Charles Jervas (16751739)

Portrait of Jonathan Swift 1667 - 1745, Charles Jervas
Oil on canvas
18th Century
29 x 24 inches 73.2 x 61.5 cm
John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley, Cobham Hall, Rochester 1925 (The 1st Earl was a contemporary of Swift) Sir Ernest Royden, Hill Bank, South Wirral, Cheshire See: William Kurtz Wimsalt The Portraits of Alexander Pope
Jervas and Swift were close friends and a number of portraits are recorded. They constituted a fitting marriage between artist and sitter. Both were Irishmen, and both were literary figures. Although Jervas enjoyed a great reputation as an artist (he was principle portrait painter to George I and later George II), he was also on intimate terms with all the leading literary figures of the day, many of whom he painted - Pope, Addison, Swift, Arbuthnot, Warburton and Lady Mary Montague. He even gave Pope painting lessons and the latter, in return, addressed an adulatory poem to him.

Jervas was responsible for one great literary achievment himself. He translated, into English, Don Quixote. It was frequently reprinted after his death, and became an integral part of 18th century English literary culture - illustrated by Hogarth and Van der Bank.

The attribution to Jervas has been confirmed by Dr Malcolm Rogers of the National Portrait Gallery.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.