The Right Honorable Sir Charles Pratt, Knight, now Lord Camden

Various artists/makers

Not on view

This print's history demonstrates how images cannot always be taken at face value. It portrays Charles Pratt, a British lawyer and politician who was appointed Chief Justice of Common Pleas in January 1762, and Earl Camden in July 1765 – his titles appear in the lower margin.

Rather than starting from scratch in this case, the publishers John and Carington Bowles, decided to alter an earlier portrait of a completely different judge named Sir Thomas Burnet (1694-1753). They must have owned the printing plate engraved by John Faber the Younger after a painting made by Allan Ramsay that had been published before Burnet's death. Sometime after 1765, an unidentified engraver burnished away the area used to print Burnet's face and re-engraved Camden's in its place. The impressive long wig, fur-lined robes, velvet-covered armchair and curtained setting were all left untouched. Text below the image was also changed to identify the new sitter and publishers, and we know that the altered image was issued in 1768 or before, because the address given for John Bowles in the lower margin changed in the latter year.

The Right Honorable Sir Charles Pratt, Knight, now Lord Camden, John Faber, the Younger (British, ca. 1695–1756)  , the head reworked by another hand, Mezzotint

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