Portrait of a Crossbowman
Oil on oak panel
Image size: 27 x 35 inches
Contemporary style frame
This early work, depicting a gentleman holding a crossbow winder, was produced in the Low Countries
in the first quarter of the 17th century. The man is dressed in black, the colour of choice in the Low
Countries during this period. To the modern eye, his clothing appears to be relatively sombre, but on
closer inspection, it is apparent that the artist has conveyed the elevated status of his sitter through
bringing out the differing textures of the material that make up his costume.
The Gentleman’s golden jewel-covered belt is particularly well painted and indicates that the sitter was
the holder of some form of civic position, perhaps linked to the crossbow, which is referred to both in
the coat of arms in the top right hand side of the portrait, and the crossbow winder in his hand. The
crossbow was a popular weapon of choice on the continent and it is possible that the sitter served as a
prominent member of one of the many crossbow guilds in towns across the Low Countries, as an officer
in a civic militia.
Continental School, Early 17th Century
Portrait of a Gentleman with a Crossbow Winder
Oil on panel
Inscribed ‘AETATIS SUAE 32’
Image size: 35¼ x 26¾ inches
Circle of Hyacinthe Rigaud
Early 18th Century
Portrait of a Gentleman in a Fur Hat
Oil on canvas
Image size: 20½ x 16¼ inches
Period gilt frame
Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743) was the leading French portraitist of the late 17th and early 18th Centuries. The son of a tailor and painter in Perpignan, Rigaud trained in Montpellier under PaulPetzet and Antoine Ranc.
He moved to Paris in 1681, where he trained under Charles Le Brun, and in 1682 was awarded the Prix de Rome by the French Academy in Rome. Rigaud was inspired by the works of other great masters whose paintings he studied and collected.
His style encompasses thedignity and pose of the works of van Dyck, as well as the realism of Rembrandt, to create themajestically superior and naturalistic images which so appealed to his decidedly high-brow clientele.The artist’s work proved to be extremely popular amongst the aristocracy, and his talent was soonnoticed by Louis XIV.
He became the principal painter to the king under Louis XIV and paintedmany portraits for the royal family under the Sun King and his successor Louis XV, including his mostfamous work, the iconic image of Louis XIV in his state robes (1701).
This handsome portrait, painted by a member of Rigaud’s circle, dates from c.1725-50 and depicts arefined gentleman, dressed in an informal costume referred to as ‘undress’. A gentleman would wearsuch an outfit whilst at home or when paying a visit to the coffee house in the morning.
The sitter’s garments are of a very high quality and serve to reflect the sitter’s wealth, status and elegance. During this period, gentlemen often shaved their heads in order to facilitate the wearing of a wig, which wouldbe worn with a suit. Here the sitter has been depicted in a luxurious turban-like cap lined with lynx fur,a highly fashionable and expensive material at the time.
Over his shirt, he wears a velvet fur-linedgown adorned with decorative clasps fashioned from silver braid. The elegant informality of hisappearance can be seen in his unbuttoned shirt and the unfastened black ribbon hanging from hisbuttonhole, which has been artfully arranged into a fluttering drape by the portraitist.
Literature:- Ribeiro, A. Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe, London, (2002).
Attributed to Augustus Leopold Egg
1816 - 1863
Portrait of a Girl
Oil on canvas
Image size: 14 x 12 inches (35.5 x 30 cm)
Contemporary gilt frame
1701 – 1779
Portrait of Mary Wharton
Oil on canvas
Image size: 29 ½ x 23 ¾ inches
Original gilt frame
This fine portrait of Mary Wharton displays many of the classic characteristics of Hudson’s work. The bright and luminous sheen of the lady’s silver silk dress and pearls serve to accentuate her fashionably delicate complexion, and the bloom of her cheeks is echoed and reflected in the powder pink of her wrap, bringing a pleasant balance to the painting as a whole. The sitter’s pose is confidant, and her gaze direct, and Hudson has captured the hint of a smile playing across her lips.
The Honourable James Campbell of the Clan Campbell was an officer in the Royal Scots Army and the British Army, politician and unsuccessful kidnapper. In November 1690 Campbell conspired with Sir John Johnson to abduct the thirteen-year-old daughter of the late Philip Wharton (cousin of Lord Wharton) worth £1500 and heiress to Goldsborough Hall in North Yorkshire from outside the home of her mother in Westminster.
Her aunt and cousins who had been in the coach with Mary testified in court that after having returned from dinning with a Mr Archibald Montgomery in Soho they saw a coach drive hurry past them. On stopping, three men jumped out and in the process of forcing Mary into the six horses coach knocked the footman down and pushed one of her cousins into the gutter.
Mary was taken to Watson the coachman’s house where despite being in tears and protesting she was coerced in to marrying Campbell.Disturbingly evidence from the Old Bailey trail also suggests that she tricked into sleeping in the same bed as Campbell by his female accomplice, Mrs Clewer whether or not Mary was raped by Campbell can’t be ruled out but is not inevitable as often girls married before their 14th birthday would sleep in the same bed as their husband on their wedding night but actually consummate the marriage a few years later.The next day Campbell compelled Mary to write a reassuring letter to her aunt telling her that she was happily and safely wed and that they would soon visit. Whilst Mary and Campbell were having breakfast, Mary felt ill and was taken to an apothecary where her family finally found her and removed her from Campbell’s clutches by order of the Lord Chief Justice.
Although Johnson was convicted of abduction and sentenced to death, Campbell escaped due to a plea of ignorance of English law. Apparently in Scotland at the time abduction was a conventional method of obtaining a wife and he was falsely led to believe by Johnson that such practices were also accepted in England. Even though his excuse was accepted as reasonable by the powers that be it does sound a little dubious to me.The marriage was annulled on the 20 December of that year and Mary later married her guardian, the son of her aunt. Hopefully after undergoing such a horrible ordeal Mary went on to have a happy and successful life.
Thomas Hudson was one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the mid 18th century. Born in Devon in 1701, he studied under the artist Jonathan Richardson and later went on to marry Richardson’s daughter against her father’s wishes. He was friends with many of the circle of prominent artists that met at the Old Slaughter’s Coffee House throughout the 1740’s, including William Hogarth and Francis Hayman, with whom he travelled to Europe in 1748. He also visited Italy with the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac in 1752.
Hudson’s style of portraiture proved so successful that for a decade from 1745 to 1755 he was London’s most popular portrait painter and made a fortune painting the cream of London society and members of the Royal Family. Due to his popularity and high volume of commissions, like a number of other fashionable artists of this period, including his contemporary Allan Ramsay, Hudson employed others to paint the drapery and clothing in his portraits. He often collaborated with Joseph Van Acken, a specialist in painting costume and prominent artist in his own right, thus allowing Hudson to focus his full attention on the fine details of the sitters face. The dramatic positions in which the sitters in his portraits are posed and the employment of rich and often striking costumes is a notable feature of his work and one which has led to comparisons with artists such as van Dyck.
Hudson was a talented teacher, perhaps too good, as subsequently a number of his former assistants, including the great portraitists Sir Joshua Reynolds and Joseph Wright of Derby, went on to overtake him in popularity. Hudson retired in the late 1750’s and died in Twickenham in 1779. His most notable works include portraits of King George II and the renowned court musician George Frideric Handel, and his work entitled ‘Portrait of a Nobleman in Van Dyck Dress’.
His works are present in some of the most esteemed collections, including The National Portrait Gallery, The National Maritime Museum, Tate Gallery, Foundling Museum, and the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.
- Miles, E., ‘Thomas Hudson (1701-1779) Portraitist to the British Establishment’, PhD thesis, Yale, (1976),
pub. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor.
D M Saxton
British 20th Century
Portrait of a Sailor
Oil on canvas, signed lower right
Image size: 17 x 13 inches
The back of this painting notes that the it won the Royal Navy Painting Award. Unfortunately there is no record of the year.
Portrait of Isaac Barrow
Oil on canvas
Image size: 29 ½ x 25 inches (75 x 63.5 cm)
Mary Beale, (nee Craddock), is one of the most celebrated portraitists of the 17th century. The fact that she, as a woman, managed to reach the top of this male-dominated profession is highly unusual, (if not exceptional), and testimony to her skill and strength of character. The artist came from a puritan background and her father, John Craddock, was the reverend of Barrow in the county of Suffolk, where she was baptised in 1633. John Craddock was an amateur painter and he is recorded as being a member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company.
Little is known of Mary Beale’s training but it is possible that she received instruction from Robert Walker, a successful London portraitist who painted her father John Craddock in the 1640’s. She moved to Walton-on-Thames in 1651, after her marriage to Charles Beale, and then to Covent Garden several years after the birth of her elder son Bartholomew. Beale started to paint professionally in 1655, becoming the main source of income for the family after her husband lost his post as Deputy of Clerks at the Patent Office.
Charles devoted himself to supporting his wife in her profession, acting as her studio assistant and business manager and recording details of her career and working practices in over thirty diaries, of which one survives in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. Her fame grew rapidly in London society and her work was much admired by her contemporaries, including fellow artists such as the renowned court portraitist Sir Peter Lely and miniaturist Richard Gibson.
Lely was an ardent admirer of Beale’s work and the two evidently enjoyed a very close relationship with one another. Lely allowed her the great privilege of observing him and studying his technique whilst he painted, even granting her permission to produce copies of his own works.As well as producing copies, Beale also worked hard to satisfy the high demand for her own work. She produced a large number of portraits, including many for the clergy and the nobility, as her husband proudly records in his diaries where he lists a great number of her sitters.
Many of Beale’s works have survived, including a large collection of paintings in the collection of the Manor House Museum in Bury St Edmunds, her portrait of her two sons in the Tate Britain collection, and a fine self portrait of the artist, which hangs in The National Gallery.
This fine portrait depicts Isaac Barrow (1630 - 1677), a Christian theologian and mathematician who is generally given credit for his early role in the development of infinitesimal calculus. Isaac went to school first at Charterhouse, where he was so turbulent and pugnacious that his father was heard to pray that if it pleased God to take any of his children he could best spare Isaac. He completed his education at Trinity College, he then resided for a few years in college, but in 1655 he was driven out by the persecution of the Independents. He spent the next four years in the East of Europe, and after many adventures returned to England in 1659.
Barrow was ordained the next year, and appointed to the professorship of Greek at Cambridge. In 1662 he was made professor of geometry at Gresham College, and in 1663 was selected as the first occupier of the Lucasian chair at Cambridge. He resigned the latter to his pupil Newton in 1669, whose superior abilities he recognized and frankly acknowledged. He was appointed master of Trinity College in 1672, and held the post until his death. Another portrait by Mary Beale of the same sitter can be seen at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Literature:- Barber, T. and Bustin M., ‘Mary Beale: Portrait of a Seventeenth Century Painter, Her Family andHer Studio’, exhibition catalogue, Geffrye Museum, (1999).
Circle of Daniel Dumonstier
1574 - 1646
Portrait of Anne of Austria
Oil on canvas
Image size: 32 x 26 inches
1713 - 1784
Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress
Oil on Canvas, signed and dated 1747
Image size: 29¼ x 24¼ inches
Period gilt frame
Painter to King George III and widely recognised as one of the most talented portraitists of his generation, Allan Ramsay was born in Edinburgh in 1713. His father, also named Allan Ramsay, was a poet and playwright, best known as the author of The Gentle Shepherd (1725). Like many of the most prestigious portraitists of his age, the young Ramsay studied at the St. Martin’s Lane Academy in London, as well as training in the studio of Swedish painter Hans Hysing.
In 1736, Ramsay travelled to Italy for the first time, working at the French Academy in Rome under the instruction of Francesco Imperiali before moving to Naples, where he worked in the studio of Francesco Solimena.
Invigorated by his experience under the Italian-baroque masters on the continent, Ramsay returned to Britain in 1738 and set up his own portrait practice in Covent Garden. His work swiftly gained in popularity and he soon attained an impressive list of clients, including the Duke of Bridgewater, Sir Robert Walpole, the Lord Chancellor Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke and Dr. Richard Mead. As well as expanding his list of clients in London, Ramsay also retained his contacts in his native Edinburgh, where he continued to maintain a studio. His work proved particularly popular amongst the Scottish nobility and he received a number of important commissions from figures such as the Duke of Argyll and the Duke of Buccleuch.
This beautiful portrait of a lady in a green dress was painted in 1747, the year which Smart cites as marking a watershed in Ramsay’s artistic development (see Smart, ‘The Art of Allan Ramsay’ in Smart, A. and Marshall, R. (ed.), Allan Ramsay 1713-1785, Edinburgh, (1992 p.20). Created in the same year that Ramsay presented his magnificent full-length portrait of Dr. Richard Mead to the Foundling Hospital in London, this work was most likely painted in London or in Edinburgh, where the artist was situated between the summer of 1747 and January 1748.
The portrait has a luminous quality and displays the natural sensitivity which Ramsay brings to much of his work, particularly in his portrayal of female sitters, a quality noted by Horace Walpole who praised Ramsay for his delicacy and expressed the opinion that he was superior to Reynolds as a painter of women (for quotation, see Smart, A. ‘The Art of Allan Ramsay’ in Smart, A. and Marshall, R. (ed.), Allan Ramsay 1713-1785, Edinburgh, (1992) p.11).
Ramsay visited Italy for a second time from 1754 to 1757, and it was on his return to London in 1757 that he received his first commission from Lord Bute, tutor to the Prince of Wales, to paint the heir to the throne. In 1761, Ramsay was chosen to paint the Prince, now George III, and his wife Queen Charlotte in full state coronation robes. The works were a great success and Ramsay was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to the King in March 1767 and subsequently spent much of his time producing copies of his coronation portraits and other works for the royal family. Ramsay’s career in painting was halted by an injury to his arm, which he sustained from a fall from a ladder in 1773. A close friend of Dr. Johnson and David Hume, and correspondent of the likes of Voltaire and Rousseau, Ramsay spent his latter years following his intellectual and literary pursuits until his death in 1784.
- Campbell, M. Allan Ramsay: Portraits of the Enlightenment, London, (2013).
- Smart, A. Allan Ramsay: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, London, (1999).
- Smart, A. Allan Ramsay: Painter, Essayist and man of the Enlightenment, London, (1992).
- Smart, A. and Marshall, R. (ed.), Allan Ramsay 1713-1785, Edinburgh, (1992).
1870 - 1963
Portrait of a Lady in Black Feathered Hat
Watercolour, signed lower left
Image size: 18 x 16 inches
Contemporary style frame
Portrait of a Lady in a Fur Collar
Inscribed and dated 1932
Oil on canvas
Image size: 15½ x 12 inches
1763 – 1835
Portrait of Lady Romilly
Watercolour and pencil
Image size: 9 ¼ x 6 ¾ inches
Alexander Pope was born in Cork in 1763, the son of Thomas Pope who was also a renowned portraitist. He studied in Dublin as a pupil of Hugh Douglas Hamilton. In 1977 and 1980 he submitted drawings and small portraits in watercolour to the Society of Artists in Dublin. In 1781 he returned to Cork, and practised as a portrait painter in miniatures and watercolours. His portraits are said to have been flattering and he was more anxious to produce a flattering picture rather than a true likeness.
Pope was involved in the theatrical world in Cork and eventually became a professional actor. He was very successful, for years performing the principal tragic parts at the Covent Garden, Drury Lane and Haymarket theatres in London. He also appeared frequently in Dublin. During his stage career he continued to paint portraits.In 1785 Pope contributed a portrait of ‘Mrs Siddons’ to the Royal Academy, and was a frequent exhibitor until 1821, submitting miniature, pencil and occasionally oil portraits. Many of his portraits, including several of prominent members of the acting profession, were engraved. Two portraits of Pope, one as ‘Henry VIII’ by Sharpe and another as ‘Hamlet’ by Gainsborough Dupont, are in the Garrick Club.
He was married three times: first in 1785 to Elizabeth Young, an actress, in Dublin. She died in 1797 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His second marriage was in 1798 to Maria Anne Campion, a young widow (Mrs Spencer), an Irish actress. She died in 1803, aged 26, and was also buried in Westminster Abbey. Pope then married Clara Maria Leigh in 1807, the widow of Francis Wheatley RA. She was also an accomplished artist exhibiting frequently at the Royal Academy.
Alexander Pope died in March 1835, in his house in Store Street, Bedford Square, London.
Lady Anne Romilley (nee Garbett) was born in 1773 in Herefordshire and married Samuel Romilley in 1798, with whom she had two sons.
Samuel was a distinguished barrister at Grays Inn, and became a KC in 1800. He went on to become Solicitor Gemeral, and subsequently a Member of Parliament for the Whig Party. He was a vocal opponent of the slave trade and gave his support to the William Wilberforce Abolition campaign. He was a passionate speaker on this subject and once earned a standing ovation in the House of Commons, an incredibly rare occurrence.
Romilley was also a leading campaigner for the reformation of criminal law. In 1808 he managed to repeal the Elizabethan statute which made it a capital offence to steal from the person. In 1812 he had repealed another statute of Elizabeth I making it a capital offence for a soldier or a mariner to beg without a pass from a magistrate or his commanding officer. He succeeded in abolishing hanging, drawing and quartering in 1814.
In October 1818 Anne died on the Isle of Wight, after a long illness. Her death was a terrible shock to Samuel, and after returning to the family home in Russell Square he became delirious. Whilst unwatched for a moment he sprung from his bed and slit his throat and died within a few moments. His nephew, Peter Mark Roget, attended to Romilly in his final moments. His last words were recorded as 'My dear, I wish ...' presumably regarding his late wife.
Sir Herbert James Gunn R.A.
1893 - 1964
Portrait of Angela Blundell
Oil on canvas
Image size: 18 x 14 inches
Contemporary Style Frame
The Fine Art Society
Angela worked for Gunn, she was his secretary, saw sitters in and out, organised everything and must have sat for him too on an idle day.
We are gratefull to Chloe Gunn for this information.
Herbert James Gunn was born in Glasgow, 30th June 1893. He studied at the renowned Glasgow School of Art of René Mackintosh fame and subsequently at the Edinburgh College of Art. However, though a Scot by birth and artistic training, Gunn was to develop a style very much his own, an ‘international’ modern style imbued with influences from French Impressionism, modern British painting and his Scottish heritage.
Following his studies at Edinburgh Gunn travelled to Paris enrolling at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens.
On his return to England, Gunn rapidly established himself as a leading painter of portraits in addition to landscapes and conversation pieces. Gunn exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1923, at the Royal Scottish Academy and in Paris, where in 1931 he was awarded a silver medal at the Société Artistes Français and a gold medal at the Paris salon of 1939.
Throughout the 1930’s and 40’s Gunn’s reputation as a portrait painter increased, he was to become the portrait painter of choice to Society and the Establishment, in 1953-54 Gunn reached his apogee as a portrait painter with the commission to paint the state portrait of H.M. The Queen.
Gunn was elected to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1945 and President in 1953, the same year being elected ARA and a Royal Academician in 1961, Gunn was also a member of the National Society of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers.
A highly successful artist, Gunn was knighted in 1962 for his services to the arts; he died at his home in Hampstead, London on 30th December 1964.
The Royal Collection
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Gallery, London
The National Galleries, Scotland.