Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of Andrew Stuart (d.1801) of Castlemilk and Torrance, wearing grey-green coat, white waistcoat, frilled chemise and stock, his hair powdered and worn en queue 

Richard Cosway RA (1742-1821)

Portrait miniature of Andrew Stuart (d.1801) of Castlemilk and Torrance, wearing grey-green coat, white waistcoat, frilled chemise and stock, his hair powdered and worn en queue, Richard Cosway
Zoom
Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 2 3/8 inches, 6.1cm high
 
Provenance:
English Private Collection.
Gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal eight locks of hair on blue glass.

Richard Cosway was born in Devon although by the age of twelve the precocious young artist was working in London under Thomas Hudson and learning at Shipley’s drawing school. This was a fortunate apprenticeship, as Shipley, a devoted philanthropist, was extremely influential in the arts. Cosway first exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1760 and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1769, exhibiting there 1770-1806. In 1786 Cosway was made ‘Miniature Painter to the Prince of Wales’ and they became close friends until the Prince became Regent in 1811 and Cosway lost his position. The last part of Cosway’s life was plagued with illness and, after being left partially paralysed following a stroke, he died in 1821.

Andrew Stuart was a distinguished Scottish lawyer and was the son of Archibald Stuart of Torrance and Elizabeth Myreton of Gogar. After studying law Stuart became a member of the Scottish bar and in 1770, with the support of James Hamilton, 6th Duke of Hamilton, was appointed Keeper of the Signet of Scotland.

Between 1774-84 Stuart represented Lanarkshire in Parliament and was appointed to the Board of Trade in 1779 under Lord North’s administration, a position he maintained until 1782. In 1790, after four years absence, Stuart was elected as M.P for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis which he represented until his death in 1801. In 1796 Stuart inherited the estates of Torrance and one year later those of Castlemilk too. Stuart published in 1798 a Genealogical History of the Sewarts, which claimed his descent from the head of the Scottish Clan Stuart.

Stuart was clearly a prolific patron of the arts and was painted by Cosway twice and the other portrait, along with a likeness of his wife, was exhibited at the 1889 exhibition of portrait miniatures at the Burlington Fine Arts Club where the owner was listed as J. Pierpoint Morgan. Stuart was also painted by Reynolds c.1778 [Private Collection] - an engraving of the portrait is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
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