A three-quarter-length portrait to the right showing Anson in flag officer’s full dress uniform, 1748–67, wearing a white, physical wig. His right hand is on his hip; his left rests on an anchor fluke. In the right background are the yachts of the squadron he commanded which brought Princess Charlotte to Britain in 1761. According to Mannings’ catalogue raisonné (2000), the painting is a ‘competent rather smooth copy’ of a lost original.
George Anson is best remembered for his rather fraught circumnavigation of 1740–44. He secured victory over the French at the first battle of Finisterre in 1747 and proved a very able naval administrator as First Lord of the Admiralty during the Seven Years War.
This picture is one of a group left to Greenwich Hospital by Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, Governor of Greenwich Hospital, in 1796. The NMM 'Concise Catalogue' lists it as 'style of' Reynolds and it is probably safe to consider it a studio copy though further work remains to be done. When shown in the Naval Gallery at Greenwich Hospital in the 19th century it was simply listed as by Reynolds himself. The group as a whole comprises BHC2516 (this one), BHC3011 (Admiral Sir Charles Saunders by Richard Brompton), BHC0392 and BHC0394 (both of French fire-raft counter-attacks at the taking of Quebec, 1759, by Serres): see notes to BHC2792 (Sir Edward Hughes, by Reynolds).[PvdM 7/11]