1831

National

Portrait Gallery

of

Illustrious and Eminent Personages

of the

NINETEENTH CENTURY

With memoirs by William Jerdan, ESQ. F.S.A.

M.R.S.I., M.R.A.S. ETC.

Dedicated by Permission To

THE KING

 

TO HIS MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY
GEORGE THE FOURTH.

Sir,

In humbly aspiring to make the " National Portrait Gallery" as worthy as possible of its name, it may readily be conceived, that the first and most earnest wish of its Proprietors and Editor was to obtain for it the Patronage of a NATIONAL KING. They felt that without this distinguished honour, their efforts must want the only stamp which could give them authentic value; and, like unminted bullion, be unfit for the general circulation they hoped for, unless impressed with the Countenance of their gracious Sovereign.
It is, therefore, with the deepest sense of gratitude, that they acknowledge Your Majesty's unbounded condescension in permitting them to dedicate this Work to Your Majesty ; nor can they ever forget the promptitude and grace with which the important favour was accorded :—but who ever knew so well as Your Majesty, how to double the sense of obligations by the manner of conferring them?

Placed by Your Majesty's goodness in a situation so auspicious to their undertaking, it would be presumptuous to speak of what they have done; but they pledge themselves to omit no exertion which' may tend to render the " National Portrait Gallery" more worthy of the highest encouragement which it could have received. With the sanction Of GEORGE THE FOURTH, the Royal Friend and munificent Promoter of Literature and the Arts, set forth upon its Title-page; they will endeavour, with their utmost energy, to produce a publication that shall not displease the refined taste, and excellent judgment, of their benignant Patron.

On their behalf, and praying that every blessing may attend Your Majesty through a long, a prosperous, a happy, and a glorious Reign, this Dedication is subscribed by,
Sir,
YOUR MAJESTY'S
Most grateful Subject,
And dutiful Servant,
THE EDITOR.
LONDON, March 22d, 1830.

On presenting the First Volume of THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY to the Public, the Proprietors beg leave to say a few words upon the origin, the progress, and the prospects of their design.

To those who are conversant with such undertakings, it need not be explained, that the paramount difficulty lies in the beginning when you can only state intentions, and have nothing to show of performance. to entitle your claims to confidence and consideration. The possessors of valuable pictures, the exalted personages from whom the favour of sittings to artists for their portraits must be solicited, and, in general, the purchasers of productions of art, very naturally desire to see and form their opinions of the work, before they trust their possessions, lend their time, or give their money upon the mere assurances of a prospectus. It therefore invariably happens,that the earlier Numbers, when they do appear, are so impeded by obstacles, that they do not afford complete satisfaction even to their Publishers ; and cannot be held by subscribers to be fair specimens of the contemplated whole.

Having thus candidly described their past condition, the Proprietors of the National Portrait Gallery turn, with extreme gratification, to their present position, and their future prospects. Encouraged by rapidly increasing popularity, and crowned by the highest approbation in the kingdom, they now find their zealous efforts approved of and aided by the condescension, kindness, and patronage of those " illustrious and eminent Personages," who alone can enable a publication of the kind
to attain a distinguished character in Art and Literature, and to
flourish, both in its own period and through succeeding generations.- as a standard reference for the labours of the Painter, the Engraver, theBiographer, and the Historian. Most of its recent Memoirs have accordingly to boast of the greatest recommendation which can belong to such papers, viz. accuracy ; the facts having not only been diligently ascertained, but submitted to the best sources of correction : and it would hardly be credited how much the latter is required, although, in the first instance, apparently the most official and authentic documents have been consulted. ,

The Proprietors have to express their very grateful thanks for the benefits they have thus received ; and they also return their cordial acknowledgments to the Nobility and eminent individuals, who have granted them permission to copy Portraits, or, where these did not exist, who have obliged them by sitting to artists expressly for this Gallery. Among the latter, it cannot be invidious to mention the name of the Earl of Aberdeen, who, amid all the cares of state, has liberally acceded to this request, and thereby conferred a favour, not more prized on account of his rank and station, than on account of his fame as a friend to the Arts, and one of the most accomplished scholars of the age. Among the former, mar, with equal propriety, be enumerated the names of Prince Leopold, the Earl of Fife, Lord Bexley, Lord Clifden, Lord Exmouth, Lord Farnborough, Lord Goderich, Lord Melville, Lord de Tabley, (a Portrait of his late noble Father, and princely patron of native Art,) the Hon. George Agar Ellis, and other eminent persons, (besides those already engraved,) who have confided the chef d'oeuvres of our greatest painteri to the conductors of this publication, with which to adorn and enrich it.

The above are in preparation ; and the list may be swelled by the addition of many interesting portraits, obtained or promised from various estimable quarters, for the speedy appearance of which the Proprietors may pledge themselves : such as Portraits of His Royal Highness the late Duke of Kent, of her Grace the late Duchess of Rutland, of the late lamented George Canning, of the Right Hon. W. Huskisson, of the Bishop of London, of Sir Abraham Hume, of Sir Walter Scott, of T. Moore, of Campbell, of L. E. L., of Sotheby, of Mr. Davies Gilbert, of Sir Thomas Lawrence, of Sir Gore Ouseley, of Sir Alexander Johnston, of the late Mrs. Darner, of Sir Thomas Munro, of Sir Benjamin and Mr. Cam Hob-house, of Archdeacon Nares, of Dr. Young, of Captain 'Sir John Franklin, and others of celebrity in the many walks of life, which are happily open in a free country to enlightened rank, to political ability, to discriminating and generous wealth, to gallant enterprise, to honorable talents, and to enduring genius. For it is the grand object of the National Portrait Gallery, to preserve and transmit to posterity, the features and the memory of those who have earned greatness in the present age, in all the paths that lead to distinction or to glory ; and their mixed examples* will show that their plan embraces beauty, illustrious birth, the church, the law, the army, the navy, the sciences, the fine arts, and the literary character.

There remains but one other topic to be noticed ; and as it is connected with business, it is approached with some degree of hesitation_ It is, however, but in justice to themselves, that the Proprietors observe upon the very moderate cost at which their work was in the first instance issued, in consequence of their ardent desire to give it general circulation by the small-ness of the price. Their expenses have far exceeded what they anticipated, and they have been obliged to contemplate a higher rate—not with the view of putting a profit into their pockets, but solely to enable them to render the publication all that can possibly be wished by the public to whom it is addressed. But their sense of gratitude for the encouragement they have experienced is so strong, that, though truly warranted in adopting this measure at once, they only venture.

These are not cited exclusively, but simply as types of the several classes to be included in the work : and it is only owing to opportunities not yet having presented themselves for obtaining the means, that many other names are not
positivel stated.

On presenting this Second Volume of the NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in a complete form to the Public, we rejoice to express our gratitude for the very flattering encouragement with which our efforts have been rewarded. Approbation from those whose praise it is indeed honorable to merit, and a continual progress in the extent of our circulation, so marked as to afford us the assurance of being generally acceptable to the lovers of literature and the arts—are circumstances which, while they recompense past, animate to future exertions.

It does not consist with the spirit of a work which is only anxious to deserve well, that it should resort to professions, or have recourse to that system of boast, which is but too much employed to catch popularity. We trust, however, it will not be considered unbecoming in us to state, that we have spared no pains, to make our biographies correct and authentic—no endeavours, to procure and perpetuate the best class of portraits. To the former, every means of inquiry within our power has been directed ; to the latter, the employment of distinguished artists has, in almost every individual instance, effectually contributed.
As Publishers of a production claiming to be a NATIONAL one, we can say, with pride and satisfaction, that the most common observation upon it, which has ever reached us, has been, that it was only too cheap. If we mend a very little in this respect, (partly to cover our great increase in expense,) we trust we shall also improve in every other; so that at the end of many years we may still have to hear the same encomiums, and accompanied by no greater objection.