How you can use this image
This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other UK exceptions to copyright permitted to users based in the United Kingdom under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised. Any other type of use will need to be cleared with the rights holder(s).
Review the copyright credit lines that are located underneath the image, as these indicate who manages the copyright (©) within the artwork, and the photographic rights within the image.
The collection that owns the artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.
Review our guidance pages which explain how you can reuse images, how to credit an image and how to find images in the public domain or with a Creative Commons licence available.
Buy a print or image licence
You can purchase this reproduction
If you have any products in your basket we recommend that you complete your purchase from Art UK before you leave our site to avoid losing your purchases.
Add or edit a note on this artwork that only you can see. You can find notes again by going to the ‘Notes’ section of your account.
This three-quarter length portrait in pastel shows the running footman of Baron Anne Willem Carel van Nagell van Ampsen (1756–1851), Dutch Ambassador to London from 1788 to 1795. A running footman could be expected to serve as a messenger and to accompany his employer’s coach. His role was, then, emphatically public, announcing the presence of his employer to the world. Baron Nagell was known for his especially flamboyantly dressed servants and the livery worn by this figure reflects the red, white and blue of the Dutch flag.
By the date of this portrait there are believed to have been 10,000–15,000 people of African and African-Caribbean descent working in London, many in domestic service. Black servants were a significant feature of eighteenth-century portraiture, and were often shown in striking livery and wearing turbans to evoke a sense of their ‘exotic’ character and associations with foreign luxury. They appear most frequently in an attending role in portraits of white sitters, occupying the corners of compositions or emerging from the background. This portrait is unusual in that it focuses so intently on the features of an unaccompanied, individual servant, rendered life-scale.
Pastel on paper
H 72.5 x W 61 cm
Purchased with assistance from Tate Members and the Sir Robert Horton Bequest 2013
Drawing & watercolour