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John Singer Sargent, Lord Ribblesdale

Key facts
Full title Lord Ribblesdale
Artist John Singer Sargent
Artist dates 1856 - 1925
Date made 1902
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 258.4 × 143.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Lord Ribblesdale in memory of Lady Ribblesdale and his sons, Captain the Hon. Thomas Lister and Lieutenant the Hon. Charles Lister, 1916
Inventory number NG3044
Location On loan: Sargent and Fashion, Tate Britain, London, UK
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Lord Ribblesdale
John Singer Sargent

This full-length portrait is of Thomas Lister, who became the 4th (and last) Baron Ribblesdale in 1876, when he was just 22. He was a Liberal peer, a lord-in-waiting at court and a Trustee of both the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery.

Plans to paint Lord Ribblesdale in formal hunting dress, wearing his full livery, were abandoned. Instead, he wears his own hunting clothes, their practicality revealing something of his character. With one hand on his hip, his pose is casual yet confident, with just a hint of swagger. His top hat, set at a slight angle, also introduces a note of rakishness. Sargent has deliberately elongated Ribblesdale’s tall, lean body, its vertical line reinforced by the perpendicular of the fluted pilaster behind him. His compact silhouette and the taut outlines of his long coat further enhance his stature.

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