When this portrait was sold through Sotheby's in 1988 the catalogue entry included the following:
'There are surprisingly few portraits of Gibbon. Indeed, apart from the portrait by Reynolds (Private collection, Scotland), he was only painted in oils by his friend Henry Walton. As was often his practice, Walton then repeated the portrait for Gibbin's family and friends. Other versions are recorded (see M. Rajnai, 'Paintings by Henry Walton', an Exhibition catalogue, 1963, pp.9-10)'
Henry Walton studied in London under the German-born painter Johann Zoffany, who was one of the most prominent artists working in England in the eighteenth century. Walton specialised in ‘conversation pieces’, small and informal group portraits, set often in domestic interiors or gardens. He also exhibited genre paintings, and similarities between his work and that of the French artist, Jean-Siméon Chardin, may indicate that he visited France. He moved back to his native East Anglia around 1780 and concentrated on painting portraits for the rest of his career.
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