Self-portrait of the artist oil on canvas 76.3 x 63.3cm (30 1/16 x 24 15/16in).
PROVENANCE: By descent to the artist's son, the Rev. John Romney, 1817 By descent to Miss Elizabeth Romney Her sale, Christie's London, 24-25 May 1894, lot 183 (purchased by Butler, £89.15s) Charles Butler 1898 Thence by descent to the present owner
ENGRAVED: British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits, engraved by W.F. Fry, drawn by J Jackson R.A., 1822
This recently discovered self-portrait of the artist, which had remained untraced since 1898, can be dated to circa 1780.
A note on Fry's engraving for the British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits (see fig. 1) states that the painting on which it was based was in the possession of the artist's son, the Rev. John Romney. John Jackson is known to have made the drawing, for Fry's use, on 4 June 1817. Given that the majority of Romney's self-portraits which remained in his studio at his death were left unfinished, and that the present work is clearly complete in the engraving, it is tempting to suggest that Jackson took it upon himself either to 'finish' the portrait itself or at least to draw a more complete version of the self-portrait.
We are grateful to Alex Kidson for confirming the attribution to George Romney upon firsthand inspection of the painting. The portrait will be included in his forthcoming catalogue of the artist's work and we are grateful to him for his kind assistance with this catalogue entry.