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Jens Juel, Joseph Greenway

Key facts
Full title Joseph Greenway
Artist Jens Juel
Artist dates 1745 - 1802
Date made 1788
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 79.8 × 99.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented according to the wish of Mrs Maud M. Greenway, 1963
Inventory number NG6341
Location Room 35
Collection Main Collection
Joseph Greenway
Jens Juel

Born in Devon, Joseph Greenway made his fortune captaining Danish cargo ships and became a Danish citizen in 1786. On his return to Britain, his wealth enabled him to rise in English society. He was Sheriff of Exeter from 1802 to 1803 and Mayor of the city from 1804 to 1805.

In this highly sympathetic portrait, painted in Denmark in the summer of 1788, the Danish painter Jens Juel presents Greenway as an English gentleman accompanied by his hunting dog. Greenway’s open expression and relaxed pose reveal a man at ease with himself and comfortable in his surroundings. The portrait is full of meticulous observation, both of Greenway and of the shaded woodland that surrounds him. His pose and the rural setting have echoes of Thomas Gainsborough’s John Plampin, also in the National Gallery’s collection. The landscape setting is the coast of the Sound, 12 miles north of Copenhagen, and the ships on the horizon allude to Greenway’s nautical career.

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