Portrait of an Unknown Man

John Russell (1745 - 1806)

Pastel on paper

1789
  • About the artist
    John Russell was born in Guildford; the son of a book and printseller. He studied at Guildford Grammar School before being apprenticed to Francis Cotes. He moved to London in 1768 and later married Hannah Faden, daughter of a printseller. The couple had twelve children. In the 1770s, Russell turned from painting portraits in oil to using pastel on paper. He made his own crayons and described the process in his book ‘Elements of Painting with Crayons’ (1772). He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1769 and was later elected a Royal Academician. In 1789 he became painter to King George III and the Prince of Wales. He was also an astronomer and produced several large images of the surface of the moon. He died of typhus during a trip to Hull.
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  • Details
    Title
    Portrait of an Unknown Man
    Date
    1789
    Medium
    Pastel on paper
    Acquisition
    Presented by Claude Dickason Rotch, September 1953
    Inscription
    cr: J Russel Pict. / 1789
    Provenance
    Collection of Mrs Augusta Knolleke (née Thornton, no relation); sold to an American collector for £200 prior to 1911; collection of Claude Dickason Rotch (1878-1961); by whom presented to the Ministy of Works through the National Art Collections Fund in 1953
    GAC number
    2296