About this artwork

Previously thought to be a self-portrait of Gavin Hamilton, this drawing has since been identified as a work by Ozias Humphry of 1777. Hamilton spent most of his life in Rome where he worked as an artist, his style influenced by the antiquities that surrounded him. In addition to painting, he dealt in classical statuary, much of which he excavated himself. Between 1758 and 1777 he worked on a grand scheme of six large history paintings, their subjects inspired by Homer's Iliad, two of which are now in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. Through his own art, his antiques dealing and his assistance to young artists, Hamilton became a pivotal figure in the artistic life of Rome in the second half of the 18th century, and helped establish a taste for Neoclassicism in Europe.

  • title:
    Gavin Hamilton, 1723 - 1798. Artist
  • accession number:
    PG 198
  • artist:
  • depicted:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Pencil on paper
  • date created:
    1777
  • measurements:
    53.10 x 43.10 cm
  • credit line:
    Presented by the Earl of Stair 1887

Ozias Humphry

Ozias Humphry

After an apprenticeship with miniaturist Samuel Collins in Bath, Humphry set up his own practice in London in 1763, where he soon established a large circle of fashionable clients. In 1772 he sustained serious damage to his eyesight in a riding accident, after which he tried to give up miniatures and work on a larger scale instead. Despite his intentions to study the old masters during a four-year trip to Italy, he was never very successful as an oil painter and he continued to spend most of his time working as a miniaturist. In a search for more lucrative markets he spent two years in India, but returned to Britain disappointed. His sight rapidly deteriorating, Humphry took up drawing in pastels, but he had almost completely lost his vision by the end of the 1790s.