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Bishop George Berkeley

Bishop George Berkeley
Artist
John Smibert, 1688 - 1751
Sitter
Bp. George Berkeley, 12 Mar 1685 - 14 Jan 1753
Date
1727?
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 102.2 x 75.6 x 3.8cm (40 1/4 x 29 3/4 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 123.2 x 96.8 x 6.4cm (48 1/2 x 38 1/8 x 2 1/2")
Topic
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair
Costume\Headgear\Hat
Printed Material\Book
Interior\Interior with Exterior View
Bp. George Berkeley: Male
Bp. George Berkeley: Humanities and Social Sciences\Philosopher
Bp. George Berkeley: Religion and Spirituality\Clergy\Bishop
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.89.25
Exhibition Label
Script # E144-11 wall label AU: Leslie Urena [reviewed in 2020] WC:145
George Berkeley 1685–1753
Born near Kilkenny, Ireland
In 1726, the Anglican clergyman and philosopher George Berkeley wrote, “Westward the course of empire takes its way,” a verse that later fueled the expansionist ambitions of the United States. Three years later, Berkeley journeyed to Newport, Rhode Island, in the company of the Scottish-born artist John Smibert, who painted this portrait shortly before their departure from London. Berkeley appears in clerical robes, pointing toward Bermuda, where he hoped to establish a missionary college. His plan, which went unrealized, was to transport young Native Americans to Bermuda (by force, if necessary), convert them to Christianity, and train them alongside young Englishmen. Having failed to secure funding for the school, Berkeley eventually left Newport and returned to London. Smibert, who had planned to be an art teacher at the Bermuda college, relocated to Boston and became one of the first professionally trained portraitists in the North American colonies.
John Smibert (1688–1751)
Oil on canvas, c. 1727
Gift of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee
NPG.89.25
George Berkeley 1685–1753
Nacido cerca de Kilkenny, Irlanda
En 1726, el clérigo y filósofo anglicano George Berkeley escribió: “Hacia el oeste toma rumbo el imperio”, verso que incitaría luego las ambiciones expansionistas de Estados Unidos. Tres años después, Berkeley viajó a Newport, Rhode Island, en compañía del artista escocés John Smibert, quien pintó este retrato poco antes de que partieran de Londres. Berkeley aparece con su hábito de clérigo, señalando hacia las Bermudas, donde esperaba establecer un colegio misionero. Su plan, que resultó fallido, era transportar a jóvenes indígenas americanos a las Bermudas (por la fuerza, si era necesario), convertirlos al cristianismo y educarlos junto a jóvenes ingleses. Sin poder obtener los fondos para la escuela, Berkeley terminó por regresar de Newport a Londres. Smibert, quien pensaba ser maestro de arte en la escuela de las Bermudas, se radicó en Boston y fue uno de los primeros retratistas de formación profesional en las colonias norteamericanas.
John Smibert (1688–1751)
Óleo sobre lienzo, c. 1727
Donación de la Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Marco conservado con fondos del Smithsonian Women’s Committee
NPG.89.25
Provenance
Sarah Monck, wife of John Monck; by descent throught the Moncks of Coley Park, Reading, England; Stanley Bligh Monck, eldest son of Arthur Stanley Monck, great-great-grandson of John Monck, until 1970; (Christie’s London, 19 June 1970); purchased by John Kerslake; (Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York), 1982; purchased NPG 1989
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition
2022 Rehang of Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900
On View
NPG, East Gallery 144