Tuesday 14 August 2018

Bust of Ralph Allen by Prince Hoare, Mineral Water Hospital Bath

Bust of Ralph Allen (1694 - 1763).
 Prince Hoare.
Signed and dated Hoare Sculp:t. 1757.

Life size, 

Commissioned by William Warburton

Currently situated in the main reception room of the Mineral Water Hospital, 
Upper Borough Walls, Bath.

see my next post for the busyt of Ralph Allen in Bath Guildhall

Ralph Allen, by John Faber Jr, after  Thomas Hudson, 1754 - NPG D344 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Ralph Allen

Mezzotint after Thomas Hudson by John Faber 
National Portrait Gallery.

Ralph Allen.
Thomas Hudson.

Oil on canvas 125 x 99 cms.

Purchased at the Warley Manor Sale, 1957.

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.
Image from Art UK.

Ralph Allen
attrib. William Hoare
Drawing - Black chalk, touched with red and heightened with white, on grey-green paper, squared for transfer.
364 x 295 mm.
British Museum


Ralph Allen
Attributed to Arthur Pond (1701 - 58).
They say c. 1724 which appears a little early to me given Ponds dates.

Oil on Canvas 101 x 76 cms
Bath Pump Rooms

Purchased in 1950.

Image from Art UK


Ralph Allen (1694 - 1764)
Johan van Diest (1695 - 1757).
117 x 95 cms.
Oil on Canvas
c Late 1720's

A Gift to the Corporation of Bath by General George Wade in 1728.
Currently on display in the Guildhall Bath.
Victoria Art Gallery Bath.


Ralph Allen
Etching William Hoare


Ralph Allen (perhaps).

National Portrait Gallery

Text below lifted entirely from


Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Allen
The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

Contents Foreword Introduction Catalogue scope Abbreviations Arrangement of entries

Ralph Allen (1694-1763)
‘The Man of Bath'. Businessman and philanthropist; employed in the Bath post office; detected, 1715, a Jacobite plot thereby gaining the patronage of General Wade; improved and expanded the postal system from which he derived, with other enterprises, a considerable fortune; built Prior Park; a celebrated host, his friends included Pope, Pitt, Warburton and Fielding who immortalized him as Squire Allworthy in Tom Jones.

1580 Called Ralph Allen, by an unknown artist, c.1730
Oil on canvas, 17 1/4 x 13 1/2 in. (438 x 343 mm), dark brown eyes, long nose, white wig with tied end resting on his right shoulder; white neck-tie tucked into waistcoat buttonhole, long dark green coat with matching knee-length waistcoat and breeches, black stockings, buckled shoes; panelled walls, a carpet on the floor and a window, right, with light brown curtain drawn back.

Identification and former attribution to Johann Van Diest (c.1680-c.1760) derive from Alfred Jones, a dealer and collector of Bath who said that the window and window seat in the painting had been recognised as those of the drawing room in Allen's Bath house. Jones also believed that the portrait was painted about 1742 when the sitter became mayor. He ascribed the work to Van Diest, son of the Dutch landscape painter Adriaen Van Diest, on the grounds that portraits of Allen and other corporation members were presented by Field Marshal George Wade to the city in 1728, the year Van Diest was made honorary freeman by the council for having painted these portraits. [1] 1742, however, is late for the costume; about 1730 would be more appropriate, the looped wig-end and cravat tucked through the buttonhole being in high fashion around 1728. The features of NPG 1580 compare fairly well with authentic portraits but are not entirely conclusive. J. Nankivell equates the portrait with 'a Miniature Picture of Mr. Allen' offered to Bishop Hurd in 1798 by the Rev. M.S. Smith, husband of Allen's favourite niece, Gertrude Tucker. [2] The Bishop apparently declined the offer since he already had portraits by Hudson and Pond. The Hurd MS gives neither artist's name nor dimensions of the portrait. NPG 1580 is clearly not by Van Diest whose work survives in Bath.

Condition: varnish yellowed; discoloured repaints in the background; the edges of the face, bottom of the wig and black of the coat, now worn.

Collections: given 1910, by Alfred Jones; previous history unknown.

Literature: B. Boyce, The Benevolent Man. A Life of Ralph Allen of Bath, Cambridge, Mass., 1967.

‘... rather above the middle height, of stout build... very grave and well-looking... extremely plain in his costume, and remarkably courteous in his behaviour’. [3]

Collections are at Bath and, due to the sitter's friendship with Warburton and Hurd, in the episcopal library at Hartlebury Castle. Boyce's biography and Allen's Own Narrative, published by the Postal History Society, 1960, reproduce the main types.

A portrait, owned by the City of Bath was painted by Van Diest c.1728 and another, by Thomas Hudson, probably as early as 1740 according to an Allen family inventory. [4] The type was engraved by J. Faber junior [NPG D19992], 1754. Versions are in the collection of M.C. Allen, by descent from Ralph's brother Philip, at Hartlebury, bought by Hurd in 1786 from Edward, 2nd Earl Ligonier, [5] and in the City of Bath collection, from the Skrine family of Warleigh. A modern copy is owned by the GPO, London. In his last decade Allen seems to have sat to Arthur Pond, the date 1757 being associated with the portrait at Hartlebury stated to be by him, and formerly owned by Warburton's widow, another of Allen's nieces. [6] A version was purchased in 1950 for the Pump Room, Bath. The portrait at Exeter Hospital was painted by William Hoare although ascribed to Gandy c.1715. [7] Hoare was in Weymouth to draw Allen for the Hospital in 1758, [8] and may have drawn Mrs Allen at the same time. An unattributed portrait of the second Mrs Allen, collection M.C. Allen, could well be a pendant to Hoare's painting of her husband. A replica (?) of the Exeter Hospital portrait was bequeathed to the City of Bath by Captain M. Montagu, RN, in 1864, [9] and a drawing is in the British Museum. [10] Hoare also took and engraved a profile (O'D 1); a similar drawing was in the possession of Miss Allen, Bath, 1858. [11] J.D. Milner had seen an etching (?) lettered Sacred to the Memory of the late Ralph Allen of Prior Park, W. Hoare ft. Bath 1764, suggesting the use of the type for a memorial.

A wax profile is among works by the elder Isaac Gosset in the Hurd Library, [12] and two marble busts by Prince Hoare, brother of the artist, are in Bath. One commissioned by his friend Warburton when Allen retired as a governor in 1757, was presented to the Mineral Water Hospital, now the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, [13] while the other, provenance unknown, belongs to the city. [14] Allen is caricatured in The Knights of Baythe, or the One Headed Corporation , 1763. [15]

A portrait in the Royal National Hospital, formerly known as the novelist Henry Fielding, has of late been said to represent Allen himself. Fielding never sat, and the portrait, according to information received at the NPG in 1921, was apparently given to the hospital as Allen from the Prior Park sale of 1856. A comparison with authentic portraits is not conclusive but the portrait may well represent the sitter.

1. Letters dated 18, 26, 29 July and 6 August 1910, NPG archives; Boyce, pp.37-8.
2. Nankivell, p.18, note 1.
3. DNB, I, p.312.
4. Boyce, p.219, note 23.
5. Nankivell, pp.17-18.
6. Said to be of 1757, but not signed or dated: it is inscribed A. Pond pinx., Nankivell, p.18; the evidence is doubtless from Hurd MS IX, f. 36, to which he refers.
7. C.H. Collins Baker, Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters, II, 1912, p.62.
8. Boyce, p.250 and note 32, letter of September that year to Hurd.
9. Farwell, pp.33-7, and reproduction.
10. Binyon, II, p.313.
11. SSB, LII, p.21.
12. Nankivell, p.18 and note 3.
13. Boyce, p.242, citing hospital minute and inscription on bust; also Gunnis, pp.176, 204.
14. Farwell, p.52.
15. Boyce, p.281 and pl.13.


Ralph Allen and Bath  - Two Caricatures.

The Knights of Baythe, or the One Headed Corporation.
198 x 380 (image).

Annotated in ink on the recto with a numerical key in the image and 

17. Sir John Sebright. 
16 Ald Wiltshire. Waggoner 
15. Dallmore. Post Horse duty 
14. Crook & others Doctors. 
13. Ford of Greyhound Inn 
11. Lord Bute. 12. Abel Moysey. 
10. Bp Warburton. Ald. Ralph Allen. of Prior Park. near Bath. 
18. Town Crier. 8. Lawrence Clockmaker 
7. Leake Bookseller 
6 Ayford. Glazier 
5. Attwood. Ironmonger 
4. Spurrier. Toyman. 
3. M Clutterbuck Town Clerk 
2 Ald. Chapman Sadler 
18. Town Crier
 9. Bush or Horton, Mayors of Bath / Bath address of congrat. on "adequate" peace. May. 28. 1763.
 See Gent Mag. 1763. p. 3709. resigned his gown. Oct. 22 p. 516 / May 1763'.

Satire on the loyal address of the Corporation of the City of Bath in response to the Peace of Paris, suggesting that Ralph Allen, the most dominant alderman, was taking credit. 

Allen's head appears in the centre of the print on a large scale; he is identified by a raven standing on top of his head and crying "Raafe Raafe poor Raafe". He hold the address which reads "I the Mayor, Aldermen & Com[-] of the ancient & loyal City of B do beg leave to congratulate & thank - for a Glorious & Adequate &c / upon all Occasions I shall be ready -". A former draft of the address referring to "a peice[sic] of no consequence" has been torn in pieces. Beneath Allen's head is a plan of four roads crossing, "[To] Bath", "To Scotland", "To France" and "To the Devil", an allusion to Allen's development of the system of "cross-post" avoiding the necessity of sending mail via London.

 William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester, whispers in Allen's ear, "Tis I did this great Work for you"; a label on his shoulder reads "Sanson Barsisa Vide Turkish tales (an allusion to Santon Barsisa, the protagonist of one of the tales in 'The Romance of the Forty Vezirs' (The Guardian, No. 149) who seduces the daughter of his king; Warburton had married Allen's neice). 

A flying devil in tartan with a thistle dangling from his kilt (Lord Bute) contradicts the bishop: "No, no, friend twas I, the father of Political lies, that first thought of Addressing." 

On either side of Allen stand members of the Corporation identified by the tools of their trade which, in most cases, take the place of their faces. The most visible are Walter Wiltshire, a waggoner, with a road-waggon for a head; Dallamore, who was connected with the lucrative office of collecting post-horse duty, with a horse's head; a group of doctors, one identified as Simon Crook, with medicine jars and urinals for heads, one holding a phial labelled, "Emetic for the ancient City of Baythe by Ralph"; a greyhound wearing a coat and a collar lettered "For", representing Ford of the Greyhound Inn; an ass wearing a coat representing the physician Abel Moysey, saying, "Pray dont drive me Sr John [Sebright] Il' go graze on the Common, or in Prior Park"; a Janus-headed Mayor (either Samuel Bush or John Horton, mayors of Bath respectively in 1763 and 1764); Richard Laurence, a clock maker with a clock face as his head; a man with an E O table suspended from his neck and 'Beau Nash['s] Jest[s]" as his face (Hawkins identifies this man as James Leake, the bookseller, but he he may be someone who ran a gambling table); Axford, a glazier, whose face is a leaded casement window; Thomas Warr Atwood, an ironmonger, with a door lock as his face and holding a hammer; Spurrier, a toyman, with a money bag, lettered £500, as his face, and holding a doll and a necklace; Lewis Clutterbuck, the town clerk, with an ink pot and two quill pens for a face, saying "whats all this Clutter about"; John Chapman, a saddler, with a saddle for a face; a pewterer or plumber, with a ladle for a face. In the foreground, to right, stands the town crier, named Cooper, crying "Work for the Cooper" (words from an old song) with a hoop over his shoulder and a barrel lettered, "Adequate" for a head. On the left, stands Sir John Sebright who had become MP for Bath on 28 April 1763, dressed as Falstaff and crying "Dam ye for a set of Poltroons, Il drive you from hence with this Dagger of Lath". 

On the wall behind, hang portraits of William Pitt, MP for Bath since 1757, and General John Louis Ligonier, MP for Bath from 1748-63. 1763

Image and description courtesy British Museum.

A Sequel to the Knights of Baythe, or the One Headed Corporation

197 x 377 mm (image).

Satire on the loyal address of the Corporation of the City of Bath in response to the Peace of Paris, published as an immediate response to BM Satires 4059. 

On the left, Temple, Pitt, Newcastle (or possibly Ligonier, as identified by Stephens), Sir John Sebright in the costume of Falstaff, and Charles Churchill stand beside Wilkes who draws aside a curtain to reveal Ralph Allen (identified by a raven and postboy on his head). 

Allen is supported by a devil and an official (?) in uniform and is urged forward by a devilish Lord Bute. Allen says "An Adequate Peace, merits and Adequate Address" and with his right hand gestures towards a blank sheet of paper on which a fox-headed Bishop Warburton prepares to write the Corporation Address to Allen's dictation. Warburton raises his left hand as if in blessing. 

To the right, stand members of the Corporation, with grotesque or animal heads as seen in the earlier print: a bookseller; an apothecary; Mr Abel Moysey represented as an ass, who is embraced by Mr Ford, landlord of the Greyhound Inn, represented as a greyhound; Mr Clutterbuck, the town clerk; Mr Cooper; a lawyer or clergyman. 

Image and text below courtesy British Museum

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading your blog post about the bust of Ralph Allen by Prince Hoare of Mineral Water Hospital Bath. It was so interesting to learn about the history of the bust and I'm excited to see what you have to say about the future of this bust. I always love reading your blog posts because they're usually on a subject I find interesting as well.
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