Portrait of Robert Hunt (?)

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Creator: Unidentified (British)
Date: 19th Century
Dimensions: 7.125 x 5.69 inches
Date Acquired: 2013-03-16
From Where?: Chippenham, Wiltshire (UK)

I am currently trying to figure out who the sitter is.

I bought this because I thought the style of portrait painting was close enough to be by John Linnell: like most of Linnell’s portraits, this gentleman’s head is centered and prominent, painted on an unusually small oak panel (instead of the ubiquitous stretched canvas), with very finely painted hair. He is also holding a folio under his arm, which Linnell used to designate his portraits of literary men. This convergence of tendencies considerably narrowed down the pool of 19th century British painters from which this could have been painted by.

The best lead I have is this portrait drawing below that Linnell made of his friend Robert Hunt, brother of the poet James Leigh Hunt. The likeness is as close a match as any that I have seen. Unfortunately, however, there is no such oil portrait listed in the catalog of Linnell’s paintings, which I believe he recorded to officially defend himself from false attributions. So the best conclusion I can make right now is that this is indeed a portrait of Robert Hunt, but by a different artist.

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A portrait drawing of Robert Hunt by John Linnell housed in the London National Portrait Gallery. A possible match for the sitter in the painting above.

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