Portrait of Alexander Pope

Contributed by Mark De Novellis

Portrait of Alexander Pope

The iconography of this work obeys the conventions of the time. The poet, in 'melancholy' pose, is shown awaiting divine inspiration from the poetic Muse. This was how Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was portrayed at the height of his career by artists such as Charles Jervas,Richardson and Van Loo. The famous portrait by Jean-Baptiste Van Loo (1684-1745) acted as the prototype for a number of works produced during the second half of the eighteenth century, and was widely known to the public in engraved versions by Faber and Houbraken. Houbraken's engraving, issued in 1747, was based on an intermediary oil sketch by ArthurPond (c.1705-38) which was sent to Amsterdam to be engraved. Our oil painting is a direct copy of Houbraken's engraving and reproduces in grisaille a simplified version of the decorative cartouche frame. The work is unsigned and undated and is probably a copy by an accomplished amateur.

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