Henry Raeburn, A Scottish Officer, and His Family

Attributed to Henry Raeburn, RA (1756-1823)

Henry Raeburn, A Scottish Officer, and His Family

This large and handsome work shows the young family of a dashing officer dressed in the uniform of the East Lothian Yeomanry Cavalry; an elite volunteer corps composed of Scottish aristocrats first raised in 1797. His beautiful wife is seated with their youngest, still an infant, while his eldest daughter gazes directly at the viewer, a rather unconventional approach. She shares her mother’s beauty and that, coupled with what clearly must have been a compelling personality, has clearly captivated the artist. Her portrait stands out among the rest as the central figure. The child playing with her father’s saber is likely her young brother, still dressed in the unisex gown, the weapon alone serving to identify sex.

By size and composition, this would have been an extremely expensive commission-intended to be hung prominently in the great drawing room of some country estate or city mansion.

Henry Raeburn lived and worked in Edinburgh and was the leading Scottish portrait painter of his day. Raeburn began his career as a miniaturist. In 1778, after marrying into comfortable circumstances, he visited London where he met Sir Joshua Reynolds.

In 1785 he went to Italy, where he remained for two years. On his return to Edinburgh, he became the most important Scottish painter of the century, his career in many ways paralleling that of Reynolds. In 1811 he was elected President of the Royal Society of Artists and in 1815, a Royal Academician. He was knighted by George IV in 1822, when the King visited Scotland.

Item Date: Circa 1805

Estimated Year: 1805

Measurement: 86" x 60"

Material: Oil on canvas

Item Condition: Complete conservation and restoration reports available. Relined and on original stretcher. Unframed.

Provenance: With M. Bernard Fine Art, London to 1970; private collection in the American South to 2011 then to private American collection.

Literature: McKenzie Annand, An Officer of the East Yeomanry and His Family, JSAHR LII (1974), pp. 66-67 and plate.

SOLD

SKU 233-36

For More Information, Please Contact David Hillier at 978-597-8084 or email drh@aaawt.com.

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