Chantry Fine Art

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Chantry Fine Art Collection

Subject:         Portrait of a Gentleman
                      Thought to be David Martin, Edinburgh Portrait
                      Painter (1737 - 1797)

Artist:           Sir Henry Raeburn PRSA (1756 - 1823) Attributed

Provenance:  See description

Date:             1795

Size:              Picture 24” x 19.75”   see notes re sizes   

Condition:     Very fine*

Frame:          Not original - as noted below


A very fine and powerful portrait of a gentleman in late middle age.

There are two early labels attached to the original stretcher - one stating “Man’s Head by Sir H Raeburn” - additionally the stretcher also has an incised inscription stating “David Martin, Portrait Painter of Edinburgh by H Raeburn 1813”. Further, there is a signature in black at the bottom right dated 1813 but this is NOT an original having been added later. No positive evidence can even be given to the dating though clearly it is a late 18th or early 19th century work.

This is somewhat of a mystery portrait. We have compared it with two known early self-portraits of David Martin and allowing for a 30 year gap there are close likenesses. The wide mouth, the aquiline nose, the slight cleft chin, the same shaped eyebrows, the earlobes and general shape of the head are all similar. Even in his 20’s Martin was showing signs of a receding hairline indicating later baldness as in this portrait.

We thus believe it to be of David Martin (1737 - 1797).

Martin was one of Henry Raeburn’s teachers and the style of both is similar. However, Martin died in 1797 so if the date mentioned is correct it could NOT be of Martin unless it is a ‘posthumous portrait’. Raeburn is known to have painted many of these to help recover from his bankruptcy in 1808. However, on balance we prefer to judge it as a late portrait from life circa 1795 because it is so striking and vigorous

Despite apparent lack of provenance earlier sales have fully attributed the portrait to Sir Henry Raburn PRSA (1756 - 1823) and we would agree with this attribution - more especially after its cleaning by Juliet Hawker. However, because of the absence of provenance we have listed it as “Attributed”.

Of all its characteristics the painting of the shirt collar is pure Raeburn as is the general colouring and style all adding substance to the attribution. The size is unusual as he normally painted the standard 50”x40” or 30”x25” sizes. We have traced 4 other works in this smaller 24”x19.75” size.

Raeburn was the pre-eminent Scottish portraitist after Alan Ramsey. He was Knighted on becoming President of the Royal Scottish Academy.

The portrait is contained within a fine frame of the period but is not the original - it does however suit the subject perfectly.

The portrait size is 24” x 19 3/4”  (61cm x 50cm)

*The work has been professionally cleaned and relined.

Price: £2,150



Please note the following: Chantry Fine Art are happy to supply buyers with a photographic image of this item and believe that all of the details given are correct to the best of their knowledge. Buyers may wish to carry out their own research and again, Chantry Fine Art are more than happy to supply any information that might assist - you can contact Chantry Fine Art either by telephone or email.

Digital reproduction through cameras and monitor screens may not render the true colours of the portraits.

Prospective buyers may also arrange, by appointment, to view individual items.

Contact details can be found using the ‘contact’ link in the navigation bar at the top and bottom of each page.

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your interest in Chantry Fine Art.

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