Portrait of Henry Belasyse by John Singleton Copley
Portrait of Henry Belasyse by John Singleton Copley Portrait of Henry Belasyse by John Singleton Copley Portrait of Henry Belasyse by John Singleton Copley
Portrait of Henry Belasyse by John Singleton Copley

Portrait of Henry Belasyse by John Singleton Copley

  • The preeminent American portraitist John Singleton Copley composed this stately portrait
  • It captures his friend and neighbor Henry Belasyse, the 2nd Earl of Fauconberg
  • Depicted in his Lieutenant's uniform, Belasyse is depicted with an air of masculine power
  • Copley's portraits such as this are among the most coveted of early American art
Request More Info Add to bag
To order by phone or get more info call us at 1-888-711-8084
Item No. 30-8857
$248,500
X

Free ground shipping on items designated by . Offer ends 6/27/19 and is limited to delivery in the continental United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

description
specifications
Discover more
description
John Singleton Copley
1738-1815 | American

Portrait of Henry Belasyse, 2nd Earl Fauconberg

Oil on canvas

John Singleton Copley was colonial America's supreme portrait painter. Throughout his career, he captured some of the most prominent figures in early American history, and later made a name for himself as a London portraitist as well. Portrait of Henry Belasyse, 2nd Earl Fauconberg is an example of one of his later portraits from his London years, in which he brilliantly captures the proud likeness of his friend and neighbor, Henry Belasyse.

Henry Belasyse (1743-1802) was the son of Sir Thomas and Catherine Betham Belasyse, and he succeeded his father in 1774 as the 2nd Earl Fauconberg of Newborough, York. It was not, however, until the early 1790s when Copley painted Belasyse, during a period when they both lived on George Street near Leicester Square in London. Posing in his brilliant red Lieutenant's uniform, Belasyse is surrounded by all of the symbols of his position: the silver epaulets at his shoulder represent the North Riding Militia of Yorkshire; his family coat of arms occupies the upper left corner of the canvas; and the wild landscape of northern England is viewed in the distance behind him. Copley's skill for composition and draftsmanship is revealed in the perfectly balanced scene, which imbues his subject with a distinctive grandeur. This innate sense of masculinity and power in his works is, in part, what made Copley one of the greatest portrait painters of his generation.

Though Copley enjoyed a great deal of success in America as a portraitist, in many ways he felt stifled by the limited artistic opportunities that the colonies offered him. His American patrons were enamored by his early compositions, which drew on British influences and incorporated fabrics, fashions, furniture and other markers of wealth that were beyond what Americans could purchase in the street. His portraits thus promoted a sense of fantasy among his patrons, and also came to imply a degree of wealth.

Copley, however, wished to move beyond portraiture, though a market in America for history and genre painting would not exist for another few decades. Therefore, he moved abroad to England in 1774. Once there, he put out a call for commissions for history paintings, and while waiting for those commissions to come in, continued to paint portraits such as the present work. Though he eventually became equally successful as a history painter, it is for his portraits that he is best remembered. Today, Copley's works remain highly coveted, and are found primarily in important public collections such as the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Tate Britain (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Portrait Gallery (London), and many others.

Circa 1790

Canvas: 31" high x 26" wide
Frame: 33" high x 28" wide

Exhibited:
Harvard College, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1934-35

References:
John Singleton Copley in England, 1774-1815, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1966, by J.D. Prown, p. 343, fig. 591 (illustrated)

Provenance:
The artist
Thence by descent
Bequeathed to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston by the artist's great-granddaughter Susan Greene Dexter, 1925
Private collection, 2004
specifications
Period: 1700-1815
Origin:America
Subject:Portrait
Discover more

Top 5 Portrait Acquisitions of All Time

A portrait's purpose has always been to memorialize its subject Over time however these works of art become important historical relics in and of themselves Portraits capture the mood of a time and place thanks to hints such as the...
A portrait's purpose has always been to memorialize its subject Over time however these works of art become important historical relics in and of themselves Portraits capture the mood of a time and place thanks to hints such as the...
read more

Five Important Considerations When Buying Fine Art

The art market is a billion global industry With so much activity in galleries online at fairs and elsewhere the act of collecting can be daunting Whether you have eclectic taste or are assembling a highly curated collection the five...
The art market is a billion global industry With so much activity in galleries online at fairs and elsewhere the act of collecting can be daunting Whether you have eclectic taste or are assembling a highly curated collection the five...
read more
4 minute read

Why buy ART? Why NOW? and Why from M.S. Rau?

Well-established artists like the so-called 'Old Masters' or the Impressionists have a stable market value By comparison the more contemporary the artist the more uncertain is his or her market value from Investors find a safe haven in art DW...
Well-established artists like the so-called 'Old Masters' or the Impressionists have a stable market value By comparison the more contemporary the artist the more uncertain is his or her market value from Investors find a safe haven in art DW...
read more
Related Items
Back to Top back to top