A three-quarter-length portrait slightly to the left in a mauve gown and russet drapery. He wears a brown full-bottomed wig and his right hand rests on a wooden rule while he holds a pair of dividers over a draft plan for a ship. He gestures with his left hand towards the launch of the first-rate, 'Royal Sovereign', on the left and both the Thames and the buildings of Woolwich are visible behind him. Harding was Master Shipwright at Deptford between 1686 and 1705, and built the ship he gestures towards at Woolwich in 1701. He also built the 'Boyne'. Pepys described him as 'a very slow man, of no learning, authority and countenance', which probably means that Pepys found him difficult to handle. Richardson was the principal portrait painter of the period between Kneller and Hudson. He founded the St Martin's Lane Academy with Kneller in 1711 and was particularly influential through his books on the theories of painting.
Where to see this painting?
National Maritime Museum
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