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Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Portrait of John Scott (?) of Banks Fee

Key facts
Full title Portrait of John Scott (?) of Banks Fee
Artist Pompeo Girolamo Batoni
Artist dates 1708 - 1787
Date made 1774
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 101.3 × 74 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Mrs E.M.E. Commeline in memory of her husband Col. C.E. Commeline, RE, 1960
Inventory number NG6308
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of John Scott (?) of Banks Fee
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni

This is traditionally said to be a portrait of the Englishman John Scott, who bought the estate at Banks Fee, near Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, in 1753. During the early 1770s – around the same time as this work was produced – Scott did travel to Rome, where the famous portraitist Batoni worked. The city was a popular destination for English gentleman on their Grand Tour of Europe.

The sitter’s gaze is directed towards the lower right, as if he has been distracted by something out of view. He holds a walking stick and black hat, and leans on a stone plinth of a kind that would display a classical sculpture, which is inscribed with the date 1774. His shimmering blue silk coat, fur lined and trimmed with exquisite silver thread, stands out against a shadowy background.

Batoni did not invent the Grand Tour portrait but he made it his own, dominating the market with his precise drawing, high degree of finish and freshness of colour.

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