This work shows the Corsican patriot and leader Pasquale Paoli. Paoli is shown within a rocky Corsican landscape, dressed in matching dark coat, waistcoat and knee- breeches, all embroidered with gold. He also wears white stockings and a lace neck tie. Paoli’s right hand rests on a baton, while his left hand is on his hip.
This mezzotint print after Henry Bembridge’s original oil portrait was published by Carrington Bowles of St. Paul's Churchyard in the City of London. The name of the engraver is not given.
Lettering beneath the image includes the following from Virgil’s poem ‘Aeneid’ (29-19 BC): ‘Vincet amor Patriae, laudumque immensa cupido’ (‘Love of country shall prevail, and boundless passion for renown.’
American portraitist Henry Bembridge was born in Philadelphia. He came to London in 1769 and exhibited his portrait of Corsican patriot and leader Pasquale Paoli (1725-1807) at the Free Society that year. Bembridge showed two portraits (‘Dr Franklin of Philadelphia’ and ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’) at the Royal Academy in 1770, when he was living at Panton Square in Soho. In 1770 he returned to the US.
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