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  • Title
    Captain Arthur Phillip, R. N., 1764 / George James
  • Creator
  • Call number
    DG 233
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
  • Physical Description
    1 painting - oil - 28 3/4 x 24 1/2 in. inside frame

    George James; active dates: fl. 1755-1795
    Portrait painter; b. London date unknown; died France 1795 (in prison).
    He was a pupil of Arthur Pond. He studied in Naples in 1755 and then in Rome until 1760; settled in London and exhibited first at the Free Society (1762-63), then at the Society of Artists (1764-69) and finally the Royal Academy (1770-79), to which he was elected A.R.A. in 1770. James moved to Bath in 1780, where he married a rich woman and largely gave up painting. He later went to live in Boulogne, where he was imprisoned 'under the sanguinary tyranny of Robespierre', and died there in 1795.
    Reference: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography : https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/14604
  • Collection history
    This portrait along with DG 235 were in the possession of Sir William Dixson as early as 1916 Reference: Sydney Morning Herald, 28 December 1916. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15690418
  • Access Conditions

    Access via appointment
  • Description source

    Title from frame.

    Artist and date from inscription on verso `George James, 1764' of painting.
  • General note

    Copy Print : DG 233 Available on open access in the Mitchell Library Reading Room
    Digital order no:Album ID : 884669
  • Attributions / conjectures

    The identity of this portrait is now considered unclear. The work has previously been said to be a portrait of Lieutenant Arthur Phillip.

    "It shows a young male subject who is dark haired and brown eyed, one detail that correlates to the Wheatley portrait of Phillip is the presence of brown eyes. As for the clothing, the dark blue wool suit with gilt braid and button trim does not correlate with official naval issue at the time but as Phillip was on half-pay during the period of his marriage, he may have adopted some form of quasi-nautical clothing to denote his previous rank of lieutenant.

    Visual comparison of the extant [but non-original] frames of these works and their measurements (DG 233: sight : 28 3/4 x 24 1/2" : approx. 61.5 x 73.0 cm and DG 235: canvas 63.7 x 76.0cm) would seem to suggest them to be a pair however, this does not of course tell us anything about their identities.

    Overall, the appearance of both paintings supports an attribution to them being a pair of marital portraits by George James, and the date of 1764, as suggested by the artist's back of canvas signature and date on DG 233"

    Information provided by Margot Riley (Curator), Collection Acquisition & Curation, February 2024
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