Historical Portraits Picture Archive

‘Captain Hamilton’, wearing naval uniform, his hair powdered 

John Smart (1741-1811)

‘Captain Hamilton’, wearing naval uniform, his hair powdered, John Smart
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Watercolour with pencil on paper
Rectangular, 56 x 50mm (2 3/16 x 2 in.)
 
Provenance:
The artist; His widow Mary Morton; By family descent to Lilian Mary Dyer, by whom sold; Christie’s, London, 26 November 1937, lot13 (with two other works); Bought from above by Leo Schidloff (£6); Karin Henninger-Tavcar, 1995 as ‘Admiral Young’; Private Collection, Germany.
Literature:
Foskett, 1964, p.87.
There were a number of captains with the last name Hamilton in the royal navy during this period, making it very difficult to prove with certainty the identity of this sitter.

One possibility is Charles Powell Hamilton (1747-1825) who was made captain in 1779, although a finished portrait of this sitter by Smart [private collection] bears little resemblance, ruling out the possibility that this was a preliminary study. Another celebrated Hamilton is Sir John Hamilton, who was made captain in 1771, although the absence of any confirmed iconography makes this again difficult to prove.

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