Italian, 1708 ‑ 1787
Portrait of Ralph Howard, later 1st Viscount Wicklow (1726 ‑ 1786), 1752
Oil on canvas
39 1/8 × 29 3/16 in. (99.4 × 74.1 cm.)
Purchase, Museum Art Fund 1960.8
In 1751, Ralph Howard set off with his tutor, a Mr. Benson, to spend several months enjoying the sights and pleasures of Italy. While in Rome, Howard commissioned numerous works of art. Of course, everyone who was anyone on the Grand Tour had their picture painted by Pompeo Batoni, and the future Viscount didn’t leave Rome without his portrait in hand. Wearing a fur-trimmed robe-the height of male Italian fashion for the day- Howard is presented as a man of refinement and learning.