Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yet Another Funny Portrait Story

This particular Funny Portrait Story (of which the Amateur Historian now recollects there are several) is also an installment of Funny Things that Happened to Pitt the Younger.

The landscapist Sir Francis Bourgeois once told the diariest Joseph Farington that, he, Sir Francis, had once

"Called on [Gainsborough] and saw a half-length portrait, and was struck with the haughty expression of the countenance, and observed it to Gainsborough, who expressed satisfaction at the remark, as it proved that He had hit the Character. Gainsborough said that it was a portrait of Mr. Pitt, who He said came the day before to sit for his picture and on coming into the painting room sat down in the painter’s chair and began to read.

Gainsborough, struck with the hauteur and disrespectful manner of Mr. Pitt treated him in this way.- He took up his pallet and seeming to be trifling among his Colors, began carelessly to hum toll, roll de roll, on hearing which Mr. Pitt recollected himself shut his book, and sat in a proper manner."


  1. All your funny Pitt stories WILL eventually drive me to actually read a biography of his

  2. :D I recommend William Hague's biography of Pitt the Younger, which is shorter and more readable than most Pitt biographies. It's not Amanda Foreman, but, then of course, very few people can reach her level of sheer awesome when it comes to writing biographies.

  3. That sounds perfect for moi! My attention span wanes if something scandalous or fabulous doesn't happen regularly ;o)

  4. Hello. In my spare time I write short stories and being a collector of Gillray I have written several, hopefully amusing ones based on his prints. If you, or anyone reading this would like to see a sample I would be flattered to send them one, together with the print it is based on.

    Tony Rothwell