Circa 1790 England

Studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) A Portrait of Charles James Fox (1749-1806)


1 in stock

Height 36 inches (91.5 cm)
Width 31 1/2 inches (80 cm)
Depth 3 inches (7.5 cm)

Studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)

Portrait of Charles James Fox (1749-1806)

Oil on canvas; held in period giltwood frame

Provenance: Tony Banks, Lord Stratford (1942-2006); An English Noble Collection

The present portrait is a head and shoulders version of Reynolds’s three-quarter length portrait of 1782 (Holkham Hall) and was painted sometime shortly after this date. It was the most widely circulated image of Fox particularly after it was printed in mezzotint in 1784 and proved the most popular with his army of devotees, political allies and followers. The original depicts Fox in a white waistcoat, but derivations from it such as the present example show a buff waistcoat, reflecting the blue and buff colours of George Washington’s army, which from the inception of the American war of Independence became the uniform of the Fox club and during the war with the colonies the badge of the entire Whig party.

Described by Edmund Burke as “the greatest debater the world ever saw”, Fox consistently defended his liberal ideals and fought enthusiastically against oppression and religious intolerance. Indeed, he was on the point of introducing a bill to abolish the slave trade when he died in 1806.

Tony Banks M.P. , later Lord Stratford was a great admirer of Fox and created a striking collection of artifacts associated with the man. This painting was one of the key portraits within that collection and has until recently been in an English noble collection.  

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