© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire Council Collections
Is this portrait by Theodore Blake Wirgman, who exhibited a portrait of this sitter at the 1898 exhibition of The Society of Portrait Painters no. 67?
The collection note:
'I could find no signature on the work. There is a plaque affixed to the frame that reads 'Sir Charles Bine Renshaw of Barochan and Garvocks Bart, Convenor of the County of Renfrew 1915–1918'. I expect the portrait was commissioned post-1918 and therefore is not the portrait displayed at the 1898 exhibition.'
This painting is now listed as the work of George Fiddes Watt (1873–1960), and dated 1913.
Thank you to all who contributed to this discussion. Please see below all the comments that led to this conclusion.
Sir Charles Bin Renshaw bt 1848 - 1918 looks about seventy years of age in this painting and if it is a contemporaneous likeness then that places the date at 1908
It is very likely that Andrea is right
According to reports that I found on the internet under a History of the Renfrewshire Bowling Club his funeral was marked by large crowds. He was clearly an admired man and I suspect that there were a number of posthumous commissions. Is it possible to ascertain who commissioned the work?
The Fiddes Watt portrait is reproduced in The Railway Magazine vol.33, p.187.
Unfortunately I do not have access to the article!
It was commissioned by the directors of the Caledonian Railway company and presented to Lady Bine Renshaw in 1913.
We have an answer. I've been able to check the Railway Magazine at the British LIbrary and this portrait is indeed by George Fiddes Watt. Well done to Andrea for first spotting the documentation and to Tim for the key reference. And to Martin who realised that this portrait showed enough quality to seek out a proper attribution.
In the Railway Magazine, volume 33 (1913), p. 187 there is a full page illustration of this portrait of Sir Charles Bine Renshaw presented to his wife on the retirement of her husband (they did things differently in those days). Paid for by the directors of the Caledonian Railway Company, the portrait and its commission are fully written up in the article and it makes interesting reading. The sitter recollected that the success of the portrait was due to the charm of the companionship of Mrs Fiddes Watt and her conversation during the sittings. It's hard to see how the name of Fiddes Watt, a well-known and highly prolific artist became detached from this skillful portrait but it is satisfying to put it all together again. Well done, Art Detectives.
The collection have been contacted about this recommendation.
Thanks, Jade. Yes, I recommend closing this discussion which has been happily resolved.
Thank you for all comments confirming artist and date of portrait.