John Rolle Walter visited Rome in the early 1750s when Batoni was establishing himself as the most in-demand portrait painter in Italy.

He was fast becoming the artist of choice for the wealthiest and most privileged travellers on the grand tour of Europe. This powerful image is a rarity as the artist has given prominence to the mass of the sitter and the tactile qualities of his clothing. The Rolle family were the dominant landowners in Devon and John Rolle Walter served both as MP for Exeter (1754-76) and for Devon (1776-79). The work was purchased with an Art Fund grant, a donation of £4,000 from Mr Fry and £2,822 collected from the Art Fund appeal during the Olympia Fine Art and Antiquities Fair in 2008.


By descent to Lord Clinton of Stevenstone, Devon; Trustees of the Great Torrington Almshouse.

Exhibitions at Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

Back to top