Painting Review – ‘Portrait of Richard Milles’

‘Portrait of Richard Milles’ by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, probably 1760s

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, 1708 - 1787 Portrait of Richard Milles probably 1760s Oil on canvas, 134.6 x 96.3 cm Bought, 1980 NG6459 http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG6459
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, 1708 – 1787
Portrait of Richard Milles
probably 1760s
Oil on canvas, 134.6 x 96.3 cm
Bought, 1980
NG6459
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG6459

I choose this one because the man, Richard Milles, looks to be a right pompous ass (as depicted here anyway) and I thought the idea of a ‘Grand Tour‘ rather interesting. His chest is puffed out and his hip cocked, he looks very arrogant and stuck up. He’s wearing what look to be very expensive clothes and is pictured next to a classical bust (showing his good taste and interest in antiquity). Even the frame is ostentatious.

He’s pointing to where he is on the map, (or has been according to the caption on the National Gallery website), ‘Grisoni’. I took a photo of a closeup on the map and you can actually see that at 1:1 (below).

The colours are different from how I imagined from the reproduction online, a much lighter red.

'Portrait of Richard Milles' probably 1760s, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, National Gallery, London.
‘Portrait of Richard Milles’
probably 1760s, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, National Gallery, London.
detail of 'Portrait of Richard Milles' probably 1760s, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, National Gallery, London.
detail of ‘Portrait of Richard Milles’
probably 1760s, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, National Gallery, London.

The Grand Tour was fashionable around 1660-1820 and was supposed to educate young English noblemen by exposing them to the other cultures across europe. They stayed away for years and did not travel light, taking with them loads of stuff and of course servants. They collected art and furnishings along the way for their estates back home. Many picked up vices such as gambling on cards and other less salubrious activities!

The artist, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (1708 – 1787), was one of the most popular portrait artists in Rome at the time and it was de rigueur to have a Batoni portrait to commentate your tour.

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