~ Portrait Of Baron Heathfield Of Gibraltar, After Joshua Reynolds Circa 1810 ~
A framed oil painting depicting George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, a general of the British Army famed and decorated for his participation in numerous victories over the French in the 7 year war and then, most notably, for fending off both French and Spanish forces at The Great Siege of Gibraltar.
General Elliot was depicted in numerous paintings after this momentous triumph, by artists such as John Singleton Copley, Mather Brown & John Trumbull “Artist of the American Revolution” (which was raging at that time, across the Atlantic).
Another esteemed artist who painted the victor’s portrait was Joshua Reynolds, and his version (in the collection of the British Government at the National Gallery) is the source material for this copy, painted probably for private collection a short while later.
The artist is unknown, but whilst this is a reproduction, this is in no way parading as a fake (it is, after all considerably smaller than the original).
Famous paintings were often copied by skilled artisans, commissioned by upper class enthusiasts who admired the original but could not own it. Long before photography and complex printmaking techniques, this was the only way a close copy could be rendered, and this example is of a good standard.
We see here (faithful to the original), the uniformed figure of the general, with his star of the Order of the Garter, his gold braiding and sword, holding the key of Gibraltar with its chain wrapped securely around his hand.
Behind him, beneath the moody plumes of smoke is a curved piece of apparatus which is a cannon – a Koehler Depressing Carriage in fact, the carriage of which was designed to enable the artillery to fire down from the Rock, onto the forces besieging them below. An innovation that helped secure victory that battle.
A note about the cannon has been included on the back of this canvas.
The canvas is on its original stretcher and is framed in an ornate, plaster frame. It is ready to hang.
A great piece of military / armament engineering history.
~ Dimensions ~
The canvas and stretcher measure 14 inches across by 18 inches high (35.5 x 46 cm).
The frame measures 18.5 inches across by 22.5 inches high (47 x 57 cm).
It weighs 2.2 Kg.
~ Condition ~
The cracking to the oil is extensive, and the canvas has at some stage taken a hefty blow.
The same blow may have caused stress to the canvas where it meets the stretcher behind it
Repaired by someone with some gum or paste (possibly Gum tragacanth) there is a depression near the general’s neck (pictured).
The plaster frame has taken a few knocks over the years (pictured) but still retains some grandeur and holds the piece firmly and handsomely.
A new frame might be an affordable improvement.