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

Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1st Baronet RA (8 May 1735 – 15 October 1811) was an English painter and 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, he was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768.[citation needed]

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
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 in Wiltshire, serving until 1806.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


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.


  1. ^ "Profile". Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b "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 byRichard FordGeorge Medley Member of Parliament for East Grinstead 1790–1800 With: William Hamilton Nisbet 1790–96James 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 1801–1802 With: James Strange Succeeded bySir Henry Strachey, BtDaniel Giles Preceded byJohn WodehouseSir Robert Buxton, Bt Member of Parliament for Great Bedwyn 1802–1806 With: Sir Robert Buxton, Bt Succeeded byJames Henry LeighViscount Stopford Preceded bySir Henry Strachey, BtDaniel Giles Member of Parliament for East Grinstead 1807–1811 With: Charles Rose Ellis Succeeded byRichard WellesleyCharles Rose Ellis Baronetage of Great Britain New creation Baronet(of Wittenham) 1800–1811 Extinct