This painting reveals Battoni in a transitional stage in his development, and is amongst his earliest use of the seated, three-quarter-length portrait.

The future prime minister is apparently caught as he pauses for thought in writing a letter, a device which imparts intimacy to the characterisation. It has been suggested that Batoni flattered the sitter's extraordinary physiognomy, described as coarse, clumsy and ungracious. These features are eased (but not outdone) by the elegant distractions of North's dress, the sinuous movement of his attenuated solitaire and coat of green Italian velvet with red facings, no doubt made for him by a smart Roman tailor. Lord North is remembered as the man who lost the American colonies.

Provenance

Frederick, Lord North; by descent at Guilford House, Grovenor Square, & Waldershare Park, Kent; the Countess of Guilford.


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