Captain William Bentinck, 1764-1813

A half-length portrait to left in captain's full-dress uniform, 1787-95. The son of Captain John Bentinck, the inventor, he was promoted captain of the 'Assistance', '50 guns, as early as 1783. He later commanded a frigate at the Battle of the Glorious First of June, 1794, and gained promotion to flag rank. Bentinck sat to Romney in October and November 1787 and June 1788.

The artist was an important portrait painter of the late 18th century, generally ranked third after Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. He was in Paris in 1764 and in 1773 moved to Italy for two years, where he became interested in history paintings in the elevated and élitist 'Grand Manner'. This developed into improving upon nature and the pursuit of perfect form. At its best his work demonstrated refinement, sensitivity and elegance, although it could also be repetitive and monotonous. As a society painter he typified late-18th-century English artists who, compelled by the conditions of patronage to spend their time in producing portraits, could only aspire to imaginative and ideal painting. By 1780 Romney's portraits, according to Horace Walpole, were 'in great vogue' and he worked in an increasingly neo-classical style. See also BHC2550 for a portrait of Bentinck as a child, with his father.

Object Details

ID: BHC2551
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Display - Nelson, Navy, Nation Gallery
Creator: Romney, George
Date made: 1787-1788; 1787-88
Exhibition: Nelson, Navy, Nation
People: Bentinck, William
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Painting: 765 mm x 637 mm; Frame: 967 mm x 840 mm x 100 mm

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