This portrait attributed to Stephen Slaughter, showing Robert Walpole with his secretary Henry Legge, may be the work referred to in a letter from George Montagu to Horace Walpole, of 19 September 1762, when Montagu wrote: 'There is a terrible picture of Sir Robert and Harry Legge at your brother's [Edward Walpole of Frogmore House], whose house we went to see.'
Stephen Slaughter, portrait painter, was born in London. He studied at Sir Godfrey Kneller's Academy in Great Queen Street, before leaving to live on the Continent for 17 years, first in Paris and then in Flanders. He had returned to London by 1733, but soon afterwards, left again for Dublin, where he painted Nathaniel Kane, Lord Mayor of Dublin. After moving back to London, he set up practice in Bloomsbury Square. In the late 1730s he was commissioned to copy works at Althorp, Northamptonshire, by the Spencer family. In 1745, he became Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures. In the 1740s he returned to Dublin again, moving back to London once more in the following decade. He retired to Kensington, where he died at about the age of 68.
Robert Walpole (1676-1745), 1st Earl of Orford, Prime Minister, and Henry Bilson Legge (1708-1764), Politician
Oil on canvas
height: 135.00 cm, width: 181.00 cm
Purchased from Miss Lucy Walpole, 1953
Collection of politician Sir Edward Walpole (1706-1784; son of the sitter) of Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire, (possibly commissioned by Edward); by descent to Colonel R. Walpole; by descent to Miss Lucy Walpole, Strawberry Cottage, Woodford; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1953
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