Sir Henry Nelthorpe, heart disease candidate

In her 2007 catalogue raisonné, the lovely late Judy Egerton described the man in the first known portrait by the great English painter, George Stubbs, as looking 'hale and hearty'. Much as I trust and respect Ms Egerton's judgement, what I see is something other than a man in excellent if florid health.

Here is a somewhat over-lit Internet reproduction of the painting in question, Sir Henry Nelthorpe and his second wife Elizabeth, 1746.

The first things you notice: the wig, which in that era was clearly thought manly; the fleshy face with its double chin; the rather self-indulgent, self-satisfied facial and postural expression, and most of all, the enormous 'pregnant male' paunch. This man had fat. Lots of it. And it wasn't all subcutaneous fat (the kind that most women have, in addition to some fat around muscles and organs): it was visceral. And visceral fat, packed into his innards, is a strong marker for heart disease. Not to mention the fat that might have (must have?) been lining his arteries. The man looks like a warning poster for a stroke or massive heart attack.

And guess what? They know that this painting must have been done by June of 1746, since after that, he was dead.