Seated at the center with a greyhound at his knee is the Honorable Henry Fane, second son of the eighth earl of Westmorland. To the left is Inigo Jones, a relative of the celebrated architect, and to the right Charles Blair, Fane's brother-in-law. Reynolds's largest and most impressive conversation piece, this canvas was begun in 1761 and completed in 1766. In the course of visits to London each of the three gentlemen would have sat for Reynolds separately, in his studio.
Henry Fane was the younger of two sons of Thomas Fane, who succeeded as eighth Earl of Westmorland in 1762 upon the death of his distant cousin. The Fanes had been long established at Fulbeck Hall, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, and Henry Fane was born at Fulbeck on May 4, 1739. Henry followed his father and elder brother to Parliament as member for Lyme Regis, serving from 1772 until 1802. A clerk in the treasury from 1757 to 1762, he held the title of keeper of the king’s private roads from 1772. On January 12, 1778, he married Anne Batson, daughter of a London banker, with whom he had fourteen children. Their family was raised at Fulbeck, which he inherited.
Fane is seated at center here. The older man on the left is Inigo Jones, a descendant of the famous architect of that name, who lived in Bristol and at Fulbeck Lodge. The standing figure, Charles Blair, married Mary Fane, the younger of Henry’s two sisters, at Fulbeck.
Henry Fane seems first to have sat for this portrait during his twenty-first year and, as it has not been possible to discover any achievements that he then had to his credit, we can only assume that the picture constitutes a particularly monumental celebration of traditional ties of family and friendship. The canvas was likely painted largely in 1761 and 1762, and was well under way by November 28, 1761, when the diarist Charles Brietzcke wrote that he went to “Mr. Reynolds in Leicester Field, [to] see Fane’s & Jones Pictures there.” The artist referenced “Mr Fane Mr Jones & Mr Blair in one Picture” in his receipt of payment in the sum of £200, which is dated February 18, 1766. Two head-and-shoulders portraits by Reynolds, one of Fane (location unknown) and one of Blair (private collection), are connected with the commission.
In 1829 the condition of the painting was considered ruinous (see Literary Gazette 1829), but treatment in 2008–9 proved the work to be in much better state than had been anticipated. Technical analysis revealed changes (see Additional Images, figs. 1–2) made by Reynolds in the course of execution (the addition of the greyhound, the elaboration of Fane's clothing and the simplification of Blair's) that seem to be an attempt to emphasize Fane as the principal sitter.
A mezzotint engraving by James Scott was published in 1863 (The Met, 24.90.540).
[2010; adapted from Baetjer 2009 and Gallagher 2009]
by descent to John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland, Apethorpe, Northamptonshire (by 1829–d. 1841); John Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland, Apethorpe (1841–d. 1859); Francis William Henry Fane, 12th Earl of Westmorland, Apethorpe (1859–87; sold for £13,500 through Agnew to Morgan); Junius S. Morgan, London (1887)
London. British Institution. 1866, no. 165 (lent by the Earl of Westmorland).
Charles Brietzcke. Journal entry. November 28, 1761 [published in "The Charles Brietzcke Diary," in Notes and Queries, n.s., 5 (April 1958), p. 157], writes "Breakfasted at Mr. Martheille's, & we went to Miss Kirwarden in Rathbone Place to see her Pictures, then to Gosset's & Mr. Reynolds in Leicester Field, [to] see Fane's & Jones Pictures there".
"Fine Arts. Sir Joshua Reynolds." Literary Gazette no. 657 (August 22, 1829), p. 554, recounts that the picture, belonging to the earl of Westmorland, had been in "a state of decay"; on the recommendation of Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Dunthorne of Grafton Street, Fitzroy Square, had restored it admirably; dates it about 1770 and identifies the sitters as the Hon. Henry Fane and "his guardians, Mr. Blair and Mr. Inigo Jones, a descendant of the celebrated architect".
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 3, p. 411, reports seeing it, together with Reynolds's portraits of Fane's father and brother, at Althorpe in 1850; calls it faded in the flesh tones.
William Cotton. Sir Joshua Reynolds, and His Works. London, 1856, opp. p. 90, opp. p. 91, reports appointments with Mr. Fane on April 27, May 19, and May 23, 1761.
William Cotton. A Catalogue of the Portraits Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt., P.R.A. London, 1857, p. 78.
Charles Robert Leslie and Tom Taylor. Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds. London, 1865, vol. 1, pp. 201, 218, 239–40, list appointments for Mr. Fane in March 1761, and for Mr. Blair in January 1762 and March 1764.
"Art Notes." Art Review 2 (September–November 1887), p. 49, states that the picture, purchased recently by Morgan and presented to the Museum, would be exhibited beginning November 8.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Hand-Book No. 1. New York, 1887?, p. 28, no. 27, describes Charles Blair as Fane's brother-in-law and states that the work had been at Apsthorpe [sic] since it was painted, about 1774 [sic].
Eighteenth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Association, For the year ending December 31, 1887. Presented to the members of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the Annual Meeting held on February 13, 1888. New York, 1888, pp. 382–83.
Algernon Graves and William Vine Cronin. A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A. Vol. 1, London, 1899, pp. 88, 297, record a sitting for Captain Blair in March 1761 and for Mr. Blair in January 1762 and March 1764; also a sitting for Mr. Fane in 1766; and note that £200 was paid for the picture on February 18, 1766.
Walter Armstrong. Sir Joshua Reynolds, First President of the Royal Academy. London, 1900, p. 205.
A. L. Baldry. Sir Joshua Reynolds. London, , p. xxviii.
P[ercy]. M[oore]. Turner. "Pictures of the English School in New York." Burlington Magazine 22 (February 1913), p. 269, pl. IA.
Freeman O'Donoghue and Henry M. Hake. Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. Vol. 5, London, 1922, p. 56.
William T. Whitley. Art in England 1821–1837. Cambridge, 1930, p. 174, cites the Literary Gazette and points out that the "picture-cleaner" Dunthorne was the pupil and assistant of John Constable.
C. H. Collins Baker. British Painting. London, 1933, p. 284.
Ellis K. Waterhouse. Reynolds. London, 1941, pp. 57, 122, pl. 117, notes that Fane sat in 1766, Blair in 1762 and 1764; points out that a bust of Blair sold November 29, 1929, no. 47, was misidentified as Fane, and that the sittings of Inigo Jones and William Jones were confused by Graves and Cronin.
Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 2, p. 766, no. 2151, ill. (cropped).
Blanche Payne. History of Costume From the Ancient Egyptians to the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, pp. 394, 397–98, fig. 421.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 71 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Malcolm Cormack. "The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds." Walpole Society 42 (1970), p. 119, records Reynolds's receipt of payment of £200 on February 18, 1766 for "Mr Fane Mr Jones & Mr Blair in one Picture".
Nicholas Penny inReynolds. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London. New York, 1986, p. 204.
Jean Strouse. Morgan: American Financier. New York, 1999, pp. 264, 273, as purchased by Junius Morgan for £13,500.
Katharine Baetjer. "British Portraits in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Summer 1999), pp. 27, 31, ill. inside front cover and pp. 27–30 (color, overall and details), wonders why Henry Fane, the second son, was the principal sitter in such a large portrait.
David Mannings and Martin Postle. Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings (The Subject Pictures catalogued by Martin Postle). New Haven, 2000, vol. 1, pp. 91, 184, no. 593; vol. 2, colorpl. 43, fig. 541, as "[p]robably mostly painted 1760–62, probably still being worked on in 1763"; point out that the fourteen 1761 appointments for Mr. Fane may have been for more than one person and that the pocket book for 1763 is missing; list possible appointments, 1760 to 1762, for Inigo Jones and appointments, 1761 to 1764, for Mr. and Capt. Blair; mention separate entries for dogs.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 64–65, 68, no. 28, ill. (color), fig. 56 (color detail), ill. pp. vi, x (gallery installations, black and white and color), ill. on dust jacket (color detail).
Michael Gallagher in Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 68–70, figs. 57 (detail, infrared reflectogram showing original position of Blair's left arm), 58 (detail of Blair's right sleeve, after cleaning but before retouching, showing traces of lace cuff and gold buttons), describes the recent treatment and analysis of the picture, suggesting that changes made by Reynolds in the course of painting were an attempt to emphasize Fane's importance as the principal sitter.
Malcolm Warner. "Books: British Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 153 (April 2011), p. 257, reviews Ref. Baetjer 2009.
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 421, no. 289, ill. pp. 306–7, 421 (color).