Louis Michel van Loo, French, 1707-1771
Title: Portrait of Richard Wall (1694-1778), Spanish Ambassador to Britain
Date: 1753
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Purchased, 1999
Object Number: NGI.4660
ProvenanceDuke of Grafton, K.G.; William Woodward, Sr, sale, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, 13 March 1957, lot 62 where acquired by R. Stern; Wildenstein, New York; purchased there by Tamara Guilden; her estate sale at Sotheby's, New York, 28 January 1999, lot 291.
Exhibition History1753, Salon, Paris, no. 12 (Un portrait en pied, represant M. Woual, Ambassadeur du Roy d'Espagne a la Court d'Angleterre); 1965, Two Hundred Years of the Arts in France, Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina, no.15.
Label TextThis imposing full-length portrait depicts Richard Wall, a man of Irish descent, who, at the time that this likeness was painted, was Spanish Ambassador to Britain. Prior to this posting he had risen through the ranks of the Spanish military. A baton and an olive branch lying on the table reveal both aspects of his career: soldier and peacemaker. Between 1737 and 1752 the French portraitist Van Loo was employed as court painter for King Philip V in Madrid. The flowing drapery in this portrait is a device commonly used by the painter, perhaps to add energy and movement to the formal portrait.

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