Nathaniel Dance-Holland

Self-portrait of Nathaniel Dance-Holland, circa 1773.

Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1st Baronet RA (8 May 1735 15 October 1811) was a notable English portrait painter and later a politician.

Early life

The third son of architect George Dance the Elder, Dance (he added the 'Holland' suffix later in life) studied art under Francis Hayman, and like many contemporaries also studied in Italy. There he met Angelica Kauffman, and painted several historic and classical paintings.


On his return to England, he became a successful portrait painter. With Hayman and his architect brother George Dance the Younger, he was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768.

He was commissioned to paint King George III and his queen, plus Captain James Cook and actor David Garrick. His group portrait The Pybus Family (1769) is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.[1]

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

In 1790, he gave up his artistic career and became Member of Parliament for East Grinstead in Sussex. He served this seat until 1802 when he moved to Great Bedwyn, serving until 1806. In 1807 he returned to East Grinstead, serving until his death in 1811. He was made a baronet in 1800, which became extinct upon his death.


He was married to Harriet, the daughter of Sir Cecil Bishopp, 6th Baronet and the widow of Thomas Dummer (died 1781), for whom his brother had designed the house at Cranbury Park, near Winchester.[2] They lived at Little Wittenham Manor in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire).[3] His wife survived him until 1825.[2]

His nephew, Sir Nathaniel Dance (1748–1827), was a well-known commander of British East India Company ships.


  2. 1 2 "Horninghold, Gartree Hundred" (PDF). Victoria County History of Leicestershire. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  3. Ford, David Nash (2008). "Sir Nathaniel Dance Holland (1735-1811)". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 16 June 2011.


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Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Richard Ford
George Medley
Member of Parliament for East Grinstead
With: William Hamilton Nisbet 1790–96
James Strange from 1796
Succeeded by
(Parliament of Great Britain abolished)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(self, in Parliament of Great Britain)
Member of Parliament for East Grinstead
With: James Strange
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Strachey, Bt
Daniel Giles
Preceded by
John Wodehouse
Sir Robert Buxton, Bt
Member of Parliament for Great Bedwyn
With: Sir Robert Buxton, Bt
Succeeded by
James Henry Leigh
Viscount Stopford
Preceded by
Sir Henry Strachey, Bt
Daniel Giles
Member of Parliament for East Grinstead
With: Charles Rose Ellis
Succeeded by
Richard Wellesley
Charles Rose Ellis
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