Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of General Henry Wynyard (1761-1838) 

Sir Henry Raeburn PRSA (1756-1823)

Portrait of General Henry Wynyard (1761-1838), Sir Henry Raeburn PRSA
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25-1/2 inches (76.2 x 64.8 cm)
By inheritance to William Cornwallis West (1835-1917), Newlands Manor, Lymington, Hampshire, by 1895 (partial label verso); With Captain Jack Spink, London, in 1923-24 (per Witt Library photo archive, Courtauld Institute, University of London); With Ehrich Galleries, New York, acquired from above c. 1923-24; Paul Rodman Mabury, Los Angeles, acquired from above 1930 (label verso); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, bequest of Paul Rodman Mabury in 1939, acc. no. 39.12.18 (label verso); Sotheby Parke-Bernet, Los Angeles, An Auction of Property Deaccessioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 7, 1977, lot 98; Kenneth Kendall, Los Angeles, CA, acquired from the above.
W. Armstrong, Sir Henry Raeburn, 1901, p. 114; J. Greig, Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A. his life and works, with a catalog of his pictures, 1911, p. 63, noting the Cornwallis West provenance; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Paul Rodman Mabury Catalog, 1939, ill. p. 13. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, A Catalogue of Flemish, German, Dutch and English Paintings, XV-XVIII Century, II, 1954, cat. no. 94, p. 86; plate 94 (black and white), with first name of sitter erroneously given as "Harvey" instead of "Henry":
Grafton Gallery, "Scottish Old Masters," 1895, lent by West; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Temporary installation of the Mabury Collection, March 1939.
This fine portrait shows General Henry Wynyard, and is an excellent example of Raeburnís most emphatic and romantic portrait style. It was exhibited in the 19th Century, and later was in the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Art. General Wynyard was a member of one of the leading military families in the 19th Century, and went on to serve in the Royal Household. He joined the army as an Ensign in the 1st Foot Guards in 1779. He saw action during the French Revolutionary wars in Holland under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby, and was wounded during the Helder campaign in 1799. He was appointed a Major General in 1802, serving on the general staff, and then became Colonel of the 46th Regiment. He acted for a time as a Groom of the Bedchamber to the Duke of Cumberland, later the King of Hanover. An early owner of the present portrait, Colonel William Cornwallis West (1835-1917), was a British Parliamentarian and Honorary Colonel in the 4th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Throughout his life Raeburn was highly praised for the clarity, drama and honesty of his portraiture. Born in Edinburgh in 1756 he was orphaned at the age of six and later apprenticed to a jeweller and goldsmith. By the 1770s he had begun to paint miniatures and later in that decade progressed to full-length portraits. It was not until his marriage to a wealthy widow, Ann Edgar in 1780 that he received any formal training. He moved to London with the backing of his wife's finances in 1784 and became a pupil of Reynolds. This was followed by a trip to Rome before the artist returned to Edinburgh to set up what became a successful practice. He exhibited at the Royal Academy fifty-three times between 1792 and 1823, and received both a knighthood and the title of His Majesty's First Limner and Painter in Scotland.

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