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A copy of this work is in the collection of the National Maritime Museum. This painting is apparently the primary version and includes an inscription to the sitter’s departed wife.
James Northcote was born in Plymouth and moved to London in 1771. There he entered the Royal Academy Schools and worked as an assistant to Joshua Reynolds, first president of the Royal Academy. He travelled to Italy in 1777 and was elected to artists’ academies in Florence, Rome and Cortona. After returning to England in 1780 he established a practice as a portrait painter and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1781. Northcote was elected an Associate of the RA in 1786 and a full Academician the following year.
Inscribed lower left: J.s Northcote. Pinx.t 1801; Inscribed lower right: Sacred to the / Memory / of Bridget, the Wife of / Rear Adm.l Sir Tho.s Graves K.B. / of Woodbine-Hill in the County of / Devon, / and Daughter of / Philip Bacon Esq. / of Bishops Hall in the / County of Suffolk, / who Departed this Life / the 24.th of December / 1795.
With St. Robin (Fine Arts) Ltd.; from whom purchased by Rafael Valls Ltd., London, on 13 July 1977; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in July 1977
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