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Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Portrait of Richard Milles

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Richard Milles
Artist Pompeo Girolamo Batoni
Artist dates 1708 - 1787
Date made about 1759
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 134.6 × 96.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1980
Inventory number NG6459
Location Room 40
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Richard Milles
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni

This is Richard Milles of Nackington, a Member of Parliament for Canterbury from 1761 to 1780, who sat for this portrait when he was in Rome on his Grand Tour. He points to a map inscribed with ‘Grisons’, the name of a Swiss Canton that he probably visited on his way to Italy.

The classical columns at the right and sculpted bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius establish Milles‘ status as a learned, cultivated gentleman. He is magnificently dressed in a red fur-lined cape, a luxurious silver silk waistcoat and red breeches, and Batoni has confidently imitated the various textures and surfaces. Milles’ swaggering pose, with a hand placed firmly on his hip, is one of self-assurance and ease.

Batoni was established in Rome as the most sought-after portraitist of his day, and painted this portrait in around 1759, when he was at his most prolific.

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