Unknown (British, 18thcentury?)
Portrait of a Gentleman in Three-Quarter Profile
Oil on canvas, 76.5 x 63.8 cm
Purchased, 1873
National Gallery of Victoria (304.4/1)

This painting, bought from a Melbourne dealer for a small sum, was listed in NGV 1875 and subsequent early catalogues as an anonymous portrait of an unknown gentleman.

Hoff (1995) describes it as having “some affinity with the manner of Romney” – a scarcely enthusiastic description of what appears to be an unusually unprepossessing work (Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray springs to mind).

However, it is obviously yellowed by varnish, hampering proper assessment. Hoff allows for the possibility that the canvas dates from the mid 18th century, but the NGV’s current online catalogue entry simply suggests “before 1900.”


Not listed in AR 1873; NGV 1875, p.37 (anon.portrait of a gent.); NGV 1894, p.123 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 7th bay, no.8); NGV 1905, p.142 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 6th bay, no.12) [£20] 

Cf. Hoff (1995), p.28