The Works Of Sir Henry Raeburn
( Originally Published 1908 )
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PLATES
'PORTRAIT OF MRS. STRACHAN' PLATE I
ALTHOUGH this portrait is not one of the famous examples of the painter's works, nor even described by his biographers, it is nevertheless worthy of being included in the same class with his other portraits of women.
The dress is white and the mantle a rich reddish purple. The eyes are blue and the hair light chestnut with gleams of bronze and gold. The background is brown, very dark in the shadows and lighter about the head. The picture, now in the Worcester Art Museum, was exhibited in Boston in 1903 at the Copley Society's exhibition of Portraits of Fair Women.
'PORTRAIT OF LORD NEWTON' PLATE II
LORD CHARLES HAY of Newton was born in 1740 and died in 1811. He was called to the bar in 1768, and became a Lord of Sessions in 1806. He was a man of extraordinary force, both of body and intellect. Dr. John Brown fitly characterizes him as shown in Raeburn's portrait: "full-blooded, full-brained, taurine with potential vigor. His head is painted with Rabelaisian richness; you cannot but believe when you look at the vast countenance the tales of his feats in thinking and in drinking, and in general capacity of body and mind."
This portrait was painted near the end of Lord Newton's life, and very deftly subordinates the grossness of the massive model while still retaining the impression of power which Dr. Brown so aptly refers to as "taurine." This word is admirably descriptive of a man who, Mr. Caw reminds us, was popularly known as "the mighty."
The picture is now in the National Gallery of Scotland at Edinburgh. It shows the head and bust of the sitter, with the round and ruddy shaven face looking straight out, the head covered with a powdered wig, and the shoulders, enveloped in the red of a judge's robe, turned slightly to the left. Light falls from the left front, and is concentrated upon the face and upper part of the white bands. The background is very dark brown, the lower part of the figure obscured in shadow. The technique is that of Raeburn's mature style, the paint applied simply and boldly with square touches. The picture measures two and one-half feet high by a little over two feet wide.
'MRS. FERGUSON AND CHILDREN' PLATE III
THIS is one of Raeburn's earlier pictures, ascribed by Pinnington to the year 1781, while the painter was still living at Deanhaugh. Later he painted several other portraits of different members of the family of " Fergusons of Raith." The scheme of color is very simple and pleasing—the lady and girl in white, the boy in brown, foliage also brown, with landscape setting. The lighting is akin to that in the `Chalmers of Pittencrieff.' A side-front light is thrown upon the figures, and a sunlit sky illuminates the background. It is a bold experiment, but justified by the artistic result, and was frequently repeated by the artist in after years. Mrs. Ferguson has a somewhat conscious look, the painter obviously not having reached his later power of putting his sitters at their ease. This, too, is one of many cases in which Raeburn is not happy in his presentment of children, his success with whom is most brilliantly demonstrated in `The Binning Boys.'
'PORTRAIT OF SIR WALTER SCOTT' PLATE IV
RAEBURN painted six portraits of Sir Walter Scott. One of these was done in Scott's youth, and one, in the possession of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, is a replica. About the remaining four, which hold a place in literature as well as art, there is a great diversity of opinion, and there are many variant statements. The first was painted for Constable in 1808. On the sale of his effects it was acquired by the Duke of Buccleuch, and after hanging for a time in Dalkeith Palace was transferred to the ducal residence of Bowhill. It is a full-length. Scott, dressed in black and wearing Hessian boots, sits upon a ruined wall with "Camp" at his feet, and in the distance are Hermitage Castle and the mountains of Liddesdale. "Camp" is the English bull-terrier of which Sir Walter wrote on the day of its death, that he could not dine out be-cause "a very dear friend" had died.
In the following year, 1809, Raeburn painted a second full-length portrait of Scott, for which he had several additional sittings. He added to the canine companions of his sitter, and changed the background to the valley of Yarrow.
Raeburn painted two half-lengths of Scott in 1822-23, of which Morrison's account is the most circumstantial. He says that Raeburn had expressed regret to him that Sir Walter had declined again to sit to him, and he thought that his previous portraits of Scott had a heavy look. He found the romancist a restless sitter. Scott, on the other hand, complained, "Not only myself, but my very dog growls when he observes a painter preparing his palette." Morrison, however, succeeded in persuading Sir Walter to sit, although he did it grudgingly.
"I have been painted so often," he said, "that I am sick of the thing, especially since, with the exception of Raeburn's old portrait, I can only see so many old shoemakers or blue-gown beggars."
When Scott met Raeburn for the first sitting, he told him he might find a customer for the picture.
"You may for a copy, Sir Walter," Raeburn replied; "but the portrait that I am now painting is for myself, although it may find its way, in time, into your own family."
A copy of this portrait, Morrison adds, was painted for Lord Montagu; "but the original is in the possession of the painter's only son, Henry Rae-burn, Esq., of St. Bernard's." According to Mr. Douglas, Lord Montagu got his choice of the two. The one he took remained at Ditton, near Windsor, until 1845, when, on Lord Montagu's death, it become the property of his son-in-law, the Earl of Home, and was removed (1889) to The Hirsel, Cold-stream. This is the picture reproduced in this issue of MASTERS IN ART. Mr. Douglas continues: "The replica remained in the artist's possession, and the engraving referred to [by Scott] was made from it by Mr. Walker, and published in 1826. . . I do not know what became of the original, which may be identified by an official chain round the neck not introduced in the Montagu picture."
Of the two half-lengths, which were painted at the same time, Mr. Douglas has traced one to The Hirsel. He says the other remained in the artist's possession. That, however, is the one with the chain round the neck. On Rae-burn's death it passed to his family, and, according to the catalogue, was lent by them to the Raeburn exhibition of 1876. It was acquired from them by Mr. Arthur Sanderson. This, and not the Montagu copy, is the picture that was engraved in stipple by Walker in 1826. The two pictures are very much alike, and Lockhart describes the Montagu as "a massive, strong likeness, heavy at first sight, but which grows into favor upon better acquaintance—the eyes very deep and fine."
'PORTRAIT OF SIR JOHN SINCLAIR' PLATE V
THE portrait of Sir John Sinclair, Bart., of Ulbster, is assigned to the period between 1795 and 1800. Sir John is described by Pinnington as "in the uniform of a militia officer, scarlet coat, tartan trews and plaid, sporran, holding his feather bonnet in his right hand depending by his side, a red and buff sash, and yellow lacings in the trews. The head, wreathed round with its fleece of wavy locks, is one of the finest Raeburn ever had for a model. The face is aristocratic, imperious, but expressive of bravery and inborn nobility."
Pinnington continues: "The painter's problem was obviously with a dress which, although picturesque in fact, is difficult in art, and Raeburn solved it by dint of consummate skill, admirable technique, good taste, and sheer audacity. Out of the discords of color and the tartan pattern he has somehow contrived a harmony. And yet no selection attracts attention, and no departure from the realism of details makes itself felt."
The picture was at the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901, and the Exhibition scarcely held an equal study, so deep and so informing, of fearless and clever brush-work. Beside it, other portraits, or the majority of them, were simplicity itself. As an executant, Raeburn probably never rose above the `Sinclair.' How did he do it ? In the first place, he accepted the facts. They were there before him, and it was his business to make the most of them. He began by concentrating attention upon the head—the usual practice. To do this he first half concealed the hands, the right partly hidden by the bonnet, the other doubled back, the knuckles resting upon the hip, so that little more is seen than the wrist. To emphasize the head, he set it against the dark, clouded background of the upper sky, and so brought it into strong relief; the costume he treated in a diametrically opposite manner, softening the scarlet and Sinclair tartan by the cool gray of the lower sky, and slightly shadowing the lower part of the figure. But a yet finer and more subtle skill is found in the almost elusive grading or modulation of the brighter tints. In regard to them, suggestion almost insensibly takes the place of the crude statement of reality, and the device is justified by ocular facts. The eye, that naturally seeks the noble head, takes but comparatively cursory cognizance of the dress, for, after duly meeting all the claims of truth and fidelity to his model, Raeburn's object was the portrait of a man, and not that of a uniform. The `Sinclair' is probably unique in the painter's practice.
'PORTRAIT OF MRS. CAMPBELL OF BALLIEMORE' PLATE VI
MRS. CAMPBELL (Christina Lamond Drummond) was the wife of Colonel Dougald Campbell of Balliemore. This picture, painted about 1795, represents an elderly but fresh-complexioned lady, the type of female beauty in age, which Raeburn never surpassed. "The carnations are singularly luminous, neither has the rose faded from her cheek nor the light from her eye. In youth she must have been beautiful and winsome; years have only invested her with a new fascination." She is in three-quarter length, seated to the right in a green garden seat beneath a gray tree-trunk and russet foliage. Her costume is a white dress with an overgown of greenish gray and a black shoulder cape, the ends of which fall in front, and one hand is gloved in gray. Her eyes are brown, and on her gray hair is a white kerchief.
The picture is now in the National Gallery of Scotland at Edinburgh and measures a little over four feet high by three feet four inches wide.
'PORTRAIT OF JOHN WAUCHOPE' PLATE VII
JOHN WAUCHOPE, Esq., W. S., son of Andrew Wauchope of Niddrie (whose portrait Raeburn also painted), was born in 1751 and died in 1828. "What special quality in his models moved the painter cannot be told," says Edward Pinnington, "although it may be guessed at, but both the `War-drop' and the `Wauchope' portraits bear evidence that his artistic consciousness was stirred to its depths. His brush seems to have hung upon the features with a lingering love, as if unwilling to lay the last touch upon the canvas, and so, in finished completeness, to leave the heads it had created and vitalized. In the `Wauchope' the lighting is supremely well managed. The eyes, upper lip, and neck are in shadow thrown by brow, nose, and chin from an almost directly overhead light, giving decided form to the well-marked features, and softening the expression into all that can be imagined of gentleness, mildness, and suave urbanity."
The figure is shown to the waist, leaning back in a chair, and is turned towards the left, while the genial face is almost full front and slightly inclined to one side. The coat is very dark blue, showing a double-breasted white waist-coat. The left arm, brought across the lower edge of the picture, is obscured by a cast shadow blending into the warm gray background.
The picture is now in the National Gallery of Scotland, and measures two and one-half feet high by a little over two feet wide.
'PORTRAIT OF MRS. SCOTT-MONCRIEFF' PLATE VIII
MRS. SCOTT-MONCRIEFF (Margaritta Macdonald) was the wife of R. Scott-Moncrieff, afterwards Scott-Moncrieff Welwood. This picture, now in the National Gallery of Scotland at Edinburgh, shows the head and shoulders of the sitter, with the head, beautifully poised on the thin neck, turned to the right and tilted backward. The hair clusters in a big wavy curl on each brow, shadowing the eyes, for the light falls from the left front, and the farther cheek melts softly into the dark brown background. Over the low square-cut gown of mellow white is a loose red cloak which envelops the shoulders, and, hanging open in front, is caught together near the bottom of the canvas.
In portraying the freshness of youth, the bloom of female loveliness, Rae-burn was very successful. The `Mrs. Scott-Moncrieff' is an outstanding illustration both of his splendid artistry and of his appreciation of the points of his model. "A like perfectness of modeling," says Pinnington, "can only be found in the masterpieces of art. The carnations are translucent and luscious, warm and deep. The `Scott-Moncrieff' is lapped in a sweet artistic perfume, rare and refreshing. Sparing glimpses of the red robe go, with the delicious flesh-painting, the dark-brown hair lightly tossed above the brow, and the white dress, to make a color scheme most simple and refined."
The picture is two and one-half feet high by a little over two feet wide.
'PORTRAIT OF JAMES WARDROP OF TORBANEHILL' PLATE IX
" IF one were asked to name Raeburn's two greatest portraits, there could be small risk of error in bracketing `Mrs. James Campbell' with `James Wardrop of Torbanehill.' If Raeburn had no other claim to the rank of master his right might safely be rested upon these two works." This is the judgment of Edward Pinnington. The same writer, continuing, says of this picture: "In respect of all the finer, more evasive qualities of art, a portrait which made for itself a center, and became a standard of comparison in the Edinburgh Loan Exhibition of 1901, is that of ` James Wardrop of Torbanehill.' In masterly achievement it stands at or near the summit of Raeburn's work. The shading is a miracle of delicacy, a triumph shared by eye and hand, and the modeling has a tenderness and reserved strength which the painter never excelled. The aged face rises from the dark background with a spirituality akin to that of sculptured marble, and a beauty that baffles description—a beauty of its own both human and artistic."
'THE MACNAB' PLATE X
FRANCIS, twelfth Laird of Macnab, and Lieutenant-Colonel of the Breadalbane Fencibles,was born in 1734 and died in 1816. He is said to have been a "character," and the portrait shows more of the "character" than of the officer or the Highland chief. He is not an attractive subject. Dressed in the Highland costume, the uniform of his regiment, he stands at full length in a Highland landscape. The picture is nevertheless powerfully conceived and painted, done with the masterly ease of Raeburn in the plenitude of his power. For literal truth of characterization and technical execution it is indeed remarkable, and there is no wonder that Sir Thomas Lawrence should admire it and should speak of it (as already quoted) as the best representation of a human being he had ever seen.
A LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL PAINTINGS BY RAEBURN IN PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
BELGIUM. BRUSSELS, ART GALLERY: Bust Portrait of a Man —ENGLAND. LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY: Portrait of a Lady (a member of the Dudgeon family); Portrait of Lieut.-Col. Bryce McMurdo; Anne Neale Lauzun—LONDON, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY: Rev. John Home; Francis Horner; Henry Mackenzie; Prof. John Playfair; Sir John Sinclair; Hugh William Williams —LONDON, VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM [DYCE Room] : Rev. Alexander Dyce— FRANCE. PARIS, LOUVRE: Hannah More — GERMANY. DRESDEN, ROYAL GALLERY: Lucius O'Beirne, Bishop of Meath—IRELAND. DUBLIN, NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND: Earl of Buchan; Sir James Steuart—SCOTLAND. DUNDEE, ALBERT INSTITUTE: Alexander Duncan — EDINBURGH, NATIONAL GALLERY OF SCOTLAND: Mrs. Campbell of Balliemore; Mrs. Kennedy of Dunure; Mrs. Scott-Moncrieff; Lord Newton; John Wauchope; Mrs. Hamilton; Alexander Bonar; Mrs. Bonar; Alexander Adam; Lady Hume Campbell and Child; Col. Alastair Macdonell, of Glengarry; Adam Rolland, of Gask; Major Clunes — EDINBURGH, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY: Professor Dalzel; Neil Gow; Francis Horner; Robert Montgomery; Prof. Thomas Reid; Prof. John Wilson; Sir James Montgomery—EDINBURGH, ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY: John Pitcairn; Mrs. Pitcairn — EDINBURGH, UNIVERSITY: Principal William Robertson; Prof. John Robison; Prof. John Playfair; Prof. Adam Ferguson; Lord Provost lder—EDINBURGH, PARLIAMENT HOUSE: Lord Abercromby; Lord Braxfield; George Joseph Bell; Baron Hume; Lord Craig; Lord Dunsinnan; Lord Eskgrove; Edward McCormick—EDINBURGH, ARCHERS' HALL: Dr. Nathaniel Spens —EDINBURGH, REGISTER HOUSE: Lord Frederick Campbell—EDINBURGH, BANK OF SCOTLAND: Viscount Melville—EDINBURGH, W. S. SOCIETY: Lord President Blair—EDINBURGH, ROYAL SOCIETY: John Robison—EDINBURGH, ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS: Andrew Duncan, Sr.; Prof. James Gregory—EDINBURGH, ROYAL MEDICAL SOCIETY: A. Duncan, Sr.—EDINBURGH, ORPHAN HOSPITAL: Robert Scott-Moncrieff—EDINBURGH, MERCHANT COMPANY: Daniel Stewart—EDINBURGH, HIGHLAND AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY: William Macdonald— GLASGOW, CORPORATION GALLERIES: Alexander Campbell of Hallyards; William Jamieson; William Urquhart; Mrs, Urquhart—GLASGOW, ART GALLERY (Kelvingrove): William Jamieson, Jr.; A Gentleman; William Mills; William Urquhart; Mrs. William Urquhart— GLASGOW, ROYAL ASYLUMS : Robert Cleghorn—LEITH, TRINITY HOUSE: Admiral Lord Duncan; John Hay; George Smith — LINLITHGOW, COUNTY HALL: John Hopetoun—UNITED STATES: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, FAIRMOUNT PARK GALLERY: COI. Macdonald of St. Martin's —WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, WORCESTER ART MUSEUM: Mrs. Strachan.
A LIST OF' THE PRINCIPAL BOOKS AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES DEALING WITH RAEBURN
THE principal work upon Raeburn is the handsome and finely illustrated monograph by Sir Walter Armstrong. Edward Pinnington's volume upon Raeburn in The Makers of British Art' and William Raeburn Andrew's 'Life of Raeburn' are next in importance.
ANDREW, W. R. Life of Sir Henry Raeburn. Edinburgh, 1894—ARMSTRONG, SIR W. Scottish Painters. London, 1888 — ARMSTRONG, SIR W. Sir Henry Raeburn (with introduction by R. A. M. Stevenson, and descriptions of pictures by J. L. Caw). London, 1901 —ARMSTRONG, SIR W. Raeburn (in Dictionary of National Biography). London, 1896 —BROWN, DR. J. Sir Henry Raeburn. Edinburgh, 1875 —BROWN, DR.. J. Spare Hours. Boston, n. d. —BRYDALL, R. Art in Scotland. Edinburgh, 1889 —CAW, J. L. Raeburn (in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers). London, 1904—CHESNEAU, E. The English School of Painting. Trans. by L. N. Etherington. London, 1885-CUNNINGHAM, A. Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters and Sculptors. Edited by Heaton. New York —CUNNINGHAM, A. Life of Sir David Wilkie. London, 1843 —ENCYCLOPIEDIA BRITANNICA. Raeburn. Edinburgh, 1883—MUTHER, R. The History of Modern Painting. New York, 1896-PINNINGTON, E. Sir Henry Raeburn. London, 1904 — REDGRAVE, S. Dictionary of Artists of the English School. London, 1874—REDGRAVE, R. and S. A Century of Painters of the English School. London, 1890—STEVENSON, R. L. Virginibus Puerisque. New York, 1887—VAN DYKE, J. C. Old English Masters. With notes by Timothy Cole. New York, 1902.
ACADEMY, 1886: J. M. Gray; Review of W. R. Andrew's Life of Sir Henry Rae-burn — ART JOURNAL, 1899: G. D. Leslie and F. A. Eaton; The Royal Academy in the Present Century. 1901: D. C. Thomson; International Exhibition at Glasgow—. ATHENAEUM, 1901: Deceased Scottish Masters at the National Gallery, Edinburgh. 1902: Review of Sir W. Armstrong's Sir Henry Raeburn—BURLINGTON MAGAZINE, 1903: Exhibition of English Portraits of the Eighteenth Century in the Birmingham Art Gallery —CENTURY MAGAZINE, 1898—99: J. C. Van Dyke; Sir Henry Raeburn—PORTFOLIO, 1879: Alexander Fraser; Sir Henry Raeburn—TAIT's EDINBURGH MAGAZINE, 1843—44: J. Morrison; Reminiscences of Sir Henry Raeburn.
Sir Henry Raeburn:
Sir Henry Raeburn - 1756-1823
The Art Of Sir Henry Raeburn
The Works Of Sir Henry Raeburn