Unidentified artist, c.1750-1800
The identity of the young man in this picture, like that of the artist, is unknown. It is likely he was a young Methodist preacher, possibly within John Wesley's circle. There is a tantalizing similarity to John Cennick, see 1993/1481 in the Collection. It is interesting that the sitter chose to have himself painted in front of a background of gothic church architecture when the fashion would have been for all things classical. This may indicate that he wanted to associate himself with the values of the traditional Church and emphasise the respectability of his faith. Alternatively, the work may have been commissioned as a commemorative portrait.
We know nothing of the painter but the portrait is of good quality. The colouring suggests the painter was influenced by Old Master paintings; or the client asked for this traditional rendering to emphasise the message he wanted to convey.