|Title||Alderman Richard Ford|
|Collection||Victoria Art Gallery, Bath|
|Artist||Diest, Johan van (Dutch painter, act. c.1700)|
|Description||This work was one of thirty portraits of Bath councillors which General Wade commissioned from Van Diest. It is a three-quarter length portrait of Alderman Richard Ford at about 63 years of age. The Alderman is presented as a well-built, middle-aged gentleman, wearing a shoulder-length grey wig. He is depicted standing, attired in a long grey coat with gold buttons and button-holes, with a red gown. His left hand is on his hip, and his right hand is gloved. He is depicted before a column.|
|Current Accession Number||BATVG:P:1986.1|
|Subject||portrait (Richard Ford)|
|Measurements||123 x 101 cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on canvas|
|Acquisition Details||Purchased from Miss M. D. Fuller 1986.|
|Provenance||Commissioned from the artist by General George Wade MP 1728; given to Bath Corporation by General Wade 1728; Bath Corporation 1728-1766; whereabouts unknown 1766-1925; acquired by Mr Alfred Jones, by 1925/1926; acquired by Mr A. Leonard Fuller, 1925/1926; by descent to Miss A. D. Fuller.|
|Publications||Corporation Pictures: Stranger's Guide, 1775, p. 45; Farwell, Busts in the Guildhall, Bath, 1907, pp. 11-12; Exhibition of Works by the Old Bath Artists, Bath, 1903, p. 9, cat. no. 13; Sloman, S., ‘General Wade's altar-piece for Bath Abbey: a reconstruction', The Burlington Magazine, CXXXIII, August 1991, pp. 507-10, ill. p. 509; Sloman, S., Victoria Art Gallery: Concise Catalogue of Paintings and Drawings, Bath, 1991, p. 109; Catalogue of Paintings at Guildhall, The Assembly Rooms and Pump Room, Bath, Bath, 1985, p. 8, cat. No. 14.|
|Notes||Alderman Richard Ford (1665-1733) was son of John Ford, cordwainer, of Stall Street, Bath. Richard Ford entered the City Council in 1692; he was made Alderman in 1712, and elected mayor in 1713 and 1730. e was buried at Bath Abbey.
This work was one of thirty portraits of Bath councillors which General Wade commissioned from van Diest, of which eight survive (1984.9-15 and 1986.1), as well as the portrait of General Wade commissioned by the council (1984.16). According to old sources, in the period 1766-c.1850 the pictures languished forgotten in a lumber room following the demolition of the old Guildhall, and this is when many were apparently stolen or ruined.
The accession register states that the present work is one of only two councillor portraits identified with certainty. The grounds for the identification of Alderman Ford are not supplied.
General George Wade MP commissioned the portraits of thirty Bath councillors from Johan van Diest and presented them to the city of Bath. Council minutes, December 12, 1728, record the resolution ‘by general consent that a Letter shall be sent to General Wade to return him thanks for the Pictures he had presented this Corporation'. The councillor portraits and a high altar-piece for Bath Abbey, which Wade also commissioned from van Diest, established Wade as a major benefactor of the city.
George Wade (1673-1748) distinguished himself serving in Flanders and Spain. He was promoted to major general (1714), lieutenant-general (1727), field marshal (1743), and finally English commander-in-chief (1745). He engaged in anti-Jacobite activities in Bath in 1715. Wade served as Member of Parliament for Bath from 1722 until his death in 1748. In the early 1720s he built a town house there overlooking the abbey, and also commissioned a London residence from Lord Burlington, modelled on a drawing by Palladio. Between 1724 and 1726 at the command of George I, Wade planned and supervised road-building in the Scottish highlands.
Mr A Leonard Fuller FRCSI was resident at Gay Street, Bath.
|Rights Owner||Victoria Art Gallery, Bath|
|Author||Dr Susan Steer|