Gustavus Hamilton (1710–1746), who was Irish, succeeded in 1723 as Viscount Boyne. He and Edward Walpole, the second son of the powerful Whig prime minister Sir Robert Walpole, were in Venice from January to March 1730, enjoying the pleasures of the Carnival season, and Boyne was there again the following winter. There are three versions of the present portrait: the second (private collection) shows the sitter in an identical costume; in the third (Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, England) he wears a brown brocaded coat. The hat, veil, and mask, worn outdoors with a black coat, is known to Venetians as the bautta and offered its wearer the advantage of anonymity.
Rosalba Carriera was born in Venice, probably in 1673. She corresponded with Benedetto Luti (1666–1724) and with the miniaturist Felice Ramelli (1666–1740), but was probably largely self-taught. According to tradition, she first painted the inside covers of snuff boxes, then independent portrait miniatures, and later pastels. She was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca, Rome, in 1705. Her clientele comprised the aristocracy of Venice, princes of the courts of Europe, and prominent connoisseurs of many different nationalities. In 1720–21, during a visit to Paris, she painted Louis XV (1710–1774) as a child, and she was received into the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. In 1723 she was invited to the ducal court of Modena, in 1730 to the imperial court in Vienna; Friedrich August II (1797–1854) of Saxony and Poland formed the most important collection of her work, part of which is still at the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden. As a miniaturist and as a pastellist, Rosalba developed techniques that brought these art forms to new heights and she was widely acclaimed.
Gustavus Hamilton was Irish, born in 1710, and succeeded his grandfather in 1723 as second Viscount Boyne. This elegant young gentleman made his Grand Tour of the continent with Edward Walpole (1706–1784), the second son of the powerful Whig Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole (1676–1745). The two were in Venice from late January to March 1730, doubtless for the Carnival season, and Boyne was there again the following winter. There are three versions of the present portrait by Rosalba: the second (private collection) shows the sitter in an identical costume, while the third (Barber Institute of Arts, University of Birmingham, England) shows him wearing a brown brocaded coat. All three would have resulted from the sittings for whichever pastel was painted first and all probably date within a year. The entire costume, tricorne hat, lace veil, and mask, worn outdoors with a black coat, is known to Venetians as the bautta and offered its wearer the advantage of anonymity; it was worn by both residents and visitors to the lagoon city.
[Katharine Baetjer 2010]
?Owen McSwiny, London (until d. 1754; his estate sale, Langford, London, February 28, 1755, no. 53, as "A Head of Lord Boyne, in Crayons, 3 qrs," by Rosalba); ?Nathaniel Clements, The Ranger's Lodge, Phoenix Park, Dublin (probably until d. 1777); his son, Robert Clements, later 1st Earl of Leitrim, The Ranger's Lodge (probably 1777–82; inv., 1782 or shortly before) and Killadoon, Celbridge, County Kildare (1782–d. 1804); Earls of Leitrim, Killadoon (from 1804; inv. 1856); by descent to Henry T. W. Clements, Killadoon (by 1957–d. 1974); his great-nephew, Charles Clements, Killadoon (1974–2002; on loan to J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 2000–2001; sale, Sotheby's, New York, January 24, 2002, no. 54, to Sayn-Wittgenstein for MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe," May 17–August 14, 2011, no. 4.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighteenth-Century Pastels," August 6–December 29, 2013, no catalogue.
C. Kingsley Adams. "Portraiture Problems and Geneology." Genealogist's Magazine 14, no. 11 (September 1964), pp. 387–88, explains how the sitter for three pastels by Rosalba, including the present work, came to be identified as Horace Walpole and that he is instead the 2nd Viscount Boyne.
C. Kingsley Adams and W. S. Lewis. "The Portraits of Horace Walpole." Walpole Society 42 (1970), pp. 27–28, no. C.5, pl. 28c, identify the sitter as Gustavus Hamilton, 2nd Viscount Boyne.
Introducing Francis Cotes, R.A. (1726–1770). Exh. cat., Nottingham University Art Gallery. Nottingham, 1971, p. 18, under no. 2, relates this composition to Cotes's "Young Man in a Three-cornered Hat" (Leicester Museum and Art Gallery) of 1747.
Francis Russell. "The British Portraits of Anton Raphael Mengs." National Trust Studies 1979 (1978), pp. 14, 16, notes that a pastel portrait of William Burton, later Conyngham, by Mengs was framed in the eighteenth century as pendant to a version of Rosalba's portrait of Lord Boyne [this picture]; suggests that the Mengs pastel [now J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu] was commissioned as a pair to Rosalba's, probably for the 1st Earl of Leitrim.
Bernardina Sani. Rosalba Carriera. Turin, 1988, p. 311, no. 268, fig. 235, calls it "una bellissima replica" of the London pastel; gives incorrect dimensions.
Francis Russell. "Book Reviews: Rosalba Carriera by Bernardina Sani, 1988." Burlington Magazine 131 (December 1989), p. 857, points out that Sani omits what was probably the first version, at Wolterton.
Venetian Baroque and Rococo Paintings. Exh. cat., Walpole Gallery. London, 1990, p. 30, calls the Walpole pastel clearly the prime version.
Steffi Roettgen. Anton Raphael Mengs 1728–1779 and his British Patrons. Exh. cat.London, 1993, p. 58, supports Russell's view that a pastel by Mengs of William Burton Conyngham (private collection) was made to match a pastel of Lord Boyne by Rosalba Carriera [this work]; comments on their matching frames and on the rarity of pastel for grand tour portraits.
Elizabeth Einberg inGrand Tour: The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Andrew Wilton and Ilaria Bignamini. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1996, p. 55.
John Ingamells. A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701–1800. New Haven, 1997, p. 116, mentions a pastel of Boyne by Rosalba Carriera (private collection) and gives biographical details and bibliography.
Steffi Roettgen. "Das malerische und zeichnerische Werk." Anton Raphael Mengs, 1728–1779. Vol. 1, Munich, 1999, p. 274, states that the frames for this portrait and Mengs's portrait of Conyngham at Killadoon are nineteenth-century (rather than eighteenth-century), and thus cannot lend support to the identification of the two pastels as pendants.
Revolution in Art. Sotheby's, New York. January 24, 2002, pp. 16–18, no. 54, ill. (color, framed and unframed), states that it was painted in 1730 or 1731, when Lord Boyne stayed several times in Venice during his Grand Tour.
Sarah Rhiannon Drumm. "The Irish Patrons of Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757)." Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 6 (2003), pp. 205, 209, 212, no. 4, colorpl. 1, theorizes that since Hamilton and Nathaniel Clements were friends, Hamilton might have bequeathed the pastel to Clements as a memento, or Hamilton's family might have presented it to Clements after Hamilton's death.
Neil Jeffares. Dictionary of Pastellists Before 1800. London, 2006, p. 91, ill. (color).
Bernardina Sani. Rosalba Carriera, 1673–1757: maestra del pastello nell'Europa "ancien régime". Turin, 2007, pp. 39–40, 272, 275, 322, no. 302, ill.
Emma-Louise Hunt. "The Grand Tourist." Christie's Magazine 25 (July–August 2008), p. 38.
Catherine Whistler. "Rosalba Carriera e il mondo britannico." Rosalba Carriera, 1673–1757. Ed. Giuseppe Pavanello. Verona, 2009, pp. 186, 204 n. 25, fig. 4.
Catherine Whistler. "Venezia e l'Inghilterra: artisti, collezionisti e mercato dell'arte, 1700–1750." Il collezionismo d'arte a Venezia: il Settecento. Ed. Linda Borean and Stefania Mason. Venice, 2009, pp. 96, 101 n. 42.
T. D. Llewellyn. Owen McSwiny's Letters, 1720–1744. Verona, 2009, pp. 36, 54 n. 133, p. 335 n. 1117, 380, pl. 10, proposes that McSwiny introduced Lord Boyne to Carriera; states that the portrait by Rosalba of Boyne in McSwiny's sale in 1755 is either the MMA or Birmingham version.
Katharine Baetjer and Marjorie Shelley. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (Spring 2011), pp. 10–11, 16, 23, 25, 44, no. 4, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Neil Jeffares. "Rosalba Carriera, 'Gustavus, Viscount Boyne'." Pastels & Pastellists. June 25, 2011, ill. (color) [http://www.pastellists.com/Essays/Carriera_Boyne.pdf?zoom_highlight=boyne#search="boyne"].
Michel Delon, ed. The Libertine: The Art of Love in Eighteenth-Century France. New York, 2013, ill. p. 355 (color).
Peter Björn Kerber. Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2017, p. 180, fig. 201 (color).