Collection Online
oil on canvas on canvas
69.8 × 58.0 cm (image) 70.2 × 58.7 cm (canvas)
Place/s of Execution
Derby, Derbyshire, England
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Alina Cade in memory of her husband Joseph Wright Cade, 2009
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
Not on display

Joseph Wright of Derby chronicled his personal and professional life in a group of insightful self-portraits. He painted at least seven of these highly personal works, which he kept until his death. Wright seems to have painted one every ten years, and this is the second in that ‘series’ made in his early thirties. At this time Wright was approaching the height of his fame for his conversation pieces and ‘candlelight pictures’. In these inventive works he recorded scientific developments of the Industrial Revolution in scenes lit with evocative light from candles or fires. This work has long been out of public view, last being shown at the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition of 1888.

Frame: Original, English, 18th century, maker unknown


The pair of paintings by Joseph Wright of Derby that came into the collection in 2009 as a gift from one of the painters descendants living in Melbourne, came with what are credibly believed to be the original eighteenth century English frames in which they would have originally been presented. Having stayed with the family the frames and paintings are unlikely to have been separated. They represent a simple, less expensive form of framing available to English artists in the later part of the eighteenth century, particularly the Self Portrait which is an unadorned classical revival scotia frame.
The painting was cleaned and restored in 2010.

Unknown - 18th century

timber profile, gold leaf