Henry Raeburn

Henry Raeburn

Portrait of Lady Agnes Carnegie

This enigmatic portrait of Lady Agnes Carnegie was painted c.1810, when Henry Raeburn was at the height of his powers. We are delighted to present this work from one of the greatest Scottish portrait painters in our forthcoming Scottish Paintings & Sculpture auction this June.

Lady Agnes Carnegie (1763-1860) was born in Edinburgh in 1763. Her father, Andrew Elliot, was the last Governor of New York under British rule, and when Agnes was twelve months old the Elliot family relocated to New York. When American independence was acknowledged in 1783 the Elliot family returned to Scotland, and later that same year Agnes married Sir David Carnegie, MP for Kincardineshire and deputy governor of the British Linen Company. The couple and their twelve children lived between Kinnaird Castle and their house in Gloucester Place, London. Agnes was herself a talented pastel artist.

 

SIR HENRY RAEBURN R.A.

LOT 106 | SIR HENRY RAEBURN R.A. (SCOTTISH 1756-1823) | THREE-QUARTER LENGTH PORTRAIT OF LADY CARNEGIE
Oil on canvas | 127cm x 102cm (50in x 40in) | £15,000 - £20,000 + fees
Provenance: Sir Andrew Agnew , Bart; Sir John Reid, Glasgow and thence by family descent
Exhibited: On loan to the National Gallery of Scotland, 1921-28; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, British Art 1936, no.140; Royal Academy, London, Scottish Art, 1939; Aberdeen Art Gallery, Festival Exhibition, Paintings from North East Homes
Literature: James L Caw, Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures belonging to John Reid, James Maclehose and Sons Ill p.6

 

View Lot 106 ⇒

 

This enigmatic portrait of Lady Agnes Carnegie was painted c.1810, when Raeburn was at the height of his powers. The subtle, muted palette is a signature of Raeburn’s, as is the soft, glowing illumination of the subject. Raeburn’s ability to evoke texture and light is as remarkable as his talent for capturing his sitter’s personality, evidencing his interest in Enlightenment principles of observation: he insisted that his sitter remained before him throughout the painting process. In this portrait Lady Carnegie looks towards the viewer with soft, smiling poise, and while her presence feels gentle her fine clothing and jewellery declare her status as a wealthy and influential individual. Raeburn’s mastery for descriptive brushwork is evident throughout this portrait, demonstrated by the delicate, ephemeral ruff at her throat, contrasted with the startling dimension and precision of her lace cuffs. Also of note is the light playing on the silken stripes of Lady Carnegie’s ivory headdress.

 

SIR HENRY RAEBURN R.A. (SCOTTISH 1756-1823) THREE-QUARTER LENGTH PORTRAIT OF LADY CARNEGIE

 

Today Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) is celebrated as one of the greatest Scottish portrait painters. Son of an Edinburgh yarn-boiler, Raeburn was apprenticed in his teens to jeweller and goldsmith James Gilliland. Despite having received little training, his formidable talent as a portrait painter was soon recognised, and he quickly moved from painting miniatures to creating large oils on canvas. Under the sponsorship of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Raeburn relocated to Italy in 1785 to study the Old Masters and hone his craft. Two years later he returned to Edinburgh, taking a property on George Street. The work he produced forthwith cemented his legacy as Scotland’s finest portrait artist.

This portrait comes from the collection of John Reid (1861-1933), a son of James Reid of Auchterarder, who founded the Hyde Park Locomotive Works in Glasgow. The Reid family were early collectors of Barbizon and Hague school paintings, and also owned several important Old Masters. French and Dutch paintings were well-represented in John Reid’s personal collection, and he also developed a fine selection of British paintings, including this remarkable Raeburn portrait.

 


 

Auction Information

 

SCOTTISH PAINTINGS & SCULPTURE

Lot: 1 to 96 - Thu, 10th Jun 2021 14:00
Lot: 97 to 177 - Thu, 10th Jun 2021 18:00
Live Online

 

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Viewing in Edinburgh from 04-10 June (closed Sat 05 & Wed 09 June)

 


 

Scottish Paintings & Sculpture 

 

Lyon & Turnbull’s Scottish Paintings & Sculpture specialists host two auctions per year from our Scottish auction house based in Edinburgh. Successfully selling around 90% of Scottish Colourist works handled in the last eight years, a record unmatched by our competitors – selling Scottish art in Scotland has always been a Lyon & Turnbull lynchpin. Our specialists are experts not only on the works of Scottish artists, but also on the workings of the art market, and it is this combination that fuels our on-going success in the field.

 

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