Military History, Portraits: British 18th C, Portraits: British 19th C, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 48 Could this be attributed to Henry Raeburn rather than 'school of'?

Captain Charles William Le Geyt, 3rd Regiment of Foot (1733–1827)
Topic: Artist

Could this be attributed to Henry Raeburn rather than 'school of'?

Jersey Heritage, Entry reviewed by Art UK

48 comments

Toby Campbell,

Just a thought but is this not by Tilly Kettle?

Martin Hopkinson,

The treatment of the sitter's eyes is indeed very similar to those in several portraits by Kettle. He had a trick of using a little white to enliven them. Stylistically this painting cannot be by Raeburn and its date must be before the Scottish artist began his career. I would say that it is unlikely to be later than 1770 and could be a few years earlier. Can experts on army uniform give any advice on this?

Paul Kettlewell,

A couple of news items which may help with the dating - Capt Charles William Le Geyt transferred from the 94th regiment of foot to the 63rd regiment of foot in 1763, he was still a Captain in 1776 when he was appointed as Deputy Bailiff of Jersey. His career appears to have gone downwards as by 1784 he was a lieutenant and by 1791 he was an ensign in the 34th regiment of foot, before being promoted back to lieutenant in 1793.

Greaeme Cameron,

Certainly, I would suggest. This is a portrait of considerable quality and created by a master well above the attribution it currently posseses. Its constituents appear superior to Tilly Kettle's work, as can be seen when compared with a similar Military portrait in the attached File (at Right). Interestingly, and is of a standard comparable with Raeburn's best work. (See Below). The striking, realistic features in the expression, the masterly modelling of the face. hair, uniform, with pronounced use of chiaroscuro, (absent in the Kettle work), all indicate an artist of great ability, well up to Raeburn's best standard, and perhaps even better. It deserves more research to establish actual authorship. If not for being fully engaged on forthcoming significant restitutions and volumes, I would have assisted more to finally identify its actual authorship. Best wishes, Graeme

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The sitter certainly isn't wearing the uniform of the Buffs (3rd Foot) as stated in its caption but, if this dates from the Le Geyt's period of service with the 63rd (1763-91?), why isn't he wearing a gorget as stipulated in the 1768 Clothing Warrant? I don't currently have access to the chart of regimental facing and lace colours to check the 63rd's, but a 1775 portrait in the NAM (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/an-officer-of-the-grenadier-company-63rd-regiment-of-foot-182937) shows green facings with silver lace.
The 63rd were in the West Indies from 1759 to 1764, returning to Ireland where they remained at various towns until called to active service in America in 1775. Is an Irish artist a possibility? Of course an officer may have spent time elsewhere during this period, but I don't feel this portrait can be attributed to either Raeburn or to Tilly Kettle on stylistic grounds. I do agree that the subtlety of the sitter's expression makes this the work of a significant professional.

David Bindman,

Could the portrait be by Robert Fagan, the Irish artist?

Martin Hopkinson,

Nathaniel Hone is more likely than Fagan as a candidate for authorship

Hone's lovely portraits seemed to be bathed in a golden light which we don't have here (unless this is due to yellowing varnish?). But he could paint beautiful hands, as seen here.
Worth considering John Hoppner?

Probably dating the uniform will be the key, though. I should have mentioned that the 1768 warrant stipulates that the regimental number will appear on the buttons, yet no such appears here.

Martin Hopkinson,

If this is a painting of the 1760s this would rule out Hoppner, Fagan and Raeburn

Yes, by the late 1770s the sitter looks quite a bit older. The picture in Jersey shows a young man in his 20s, maybe early 30s, which would put the date at something more like mid 1750s-mid 1760s.
Given the LeGeyt family's prominence in Jersey, might this portrait be by a French artist?

Neil Jeffares,

The 63rd had dark green facings from its inception in 1758 and in the 1768 regulations. However the 94th (Royal Welsh Volunteers) had dark blue facings and white lace during its existence, 1760-63, and seems to correspond with the portrait. (Could a dark green made with blue and yellow lake, have faded to this colour?)
In 1763 Le Geyt married Elizabeth Shebbeare; her portrait, apparently by the same artist, may provide additional evidence for attribution. Their son was also Charles William; he died in 1806 as a major, 45th; his record is probably confused with his father's in one of the comments above.

My first thought, for what it's worth, was Nathaniel Hone. But that's more of a guess, and ideally we need a larger image. I don't immediately see Kettle or Fagan. We can safely rule out Raeburn and later candidates.

Greaeme Cameron,

May I firstly cite my initial, quickly observed note above;

"Interestingly, it is of a standard comparable with Raeburn's best work. The striking, realistic features in the expression, the masterly modelling of the face. hair, uniform, with pronounced use of chiaroscuro, all indicate an artist of great ability, well up to Raeburn's best standard, and perhaps even better. It deserves more research to establish actual authorship". Due to time constraints this was a just brief 'snapshot' view.

As perceived, this work appeared undoubtedly of a very high order, and evoked a familiar recognition which had teased my frames of reference since. It finally coalesced with the realisation that this may be a superb early Gainsborough portrait. Having researched a "Bath Period" work of 1763, it is well within his his capabilities, however this would be later in the 1760's, which would fit with the earlier discussed "Uniform" datings. The attached comparisons appear to support this probable attribution, which I suggest deserves further research to more definitively confirm.

I hope this unexpected new direction of attribution will prove fruitful,as
it would further contribute to some greater discoveries ahead for Britain.

With best regards, Graeme

Bruce Trewin,

The Royal Welsh Volunteers were designated as the 94th Regiment of foot during the French and Indian Wars and used blue facings on their uniforms. Could the portrait date from this period? The Scotch Brigade, also designated as the 94th, served in Jersey just prior to the Peninsular War, but I think this would be far too late (after 1794).

Bruce Trewin,

His obituary in the Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle states that he distinguished himself at the Battle of Minden as Captain of the grenadier's company of the 25th regiment of Foot. As he was born in 1733 this would make him about the right age for the portrait. I believe the 25th was also known as the Edinburgh regiment. Your neck of the woods Bendor? The colour of the facings for this regiment, however, was yellow.

Bruce Trewin,

Are we sure that this portrait is of the father and not the son? The son may have been of the right age for Raeburn (who was only four years old at the time of the Battle of Minden). I also suspect that the cuffs and facings would be more prominent in a uniform of the Seven Years War. This one seems slightly later. Would he not be wearing a wig or his hair be powdered in circa 1759?

Mark Gray,

Nothing but bits of trivia to add here but:

(i) Anne Oakley 'A Critical Woman: Barbara Wootton, Social Science and Public Policy in the Twentieth Century' (A&C Black, 2011): 28-29 suggests that the painting (or 'a portrait') may have hung originally in Elizabeth Castle at St Helier (see http://bit.ly/1wdCuN6 for online access via Google Books).

(ii) The BM Print Room has an engraved portrait of Le Geyt (http://bit.ly/1s6byRY p. 36) - attached - which appears to be based on a Sir William Beechey portrait (http://bit.ly/1ngRvZ8). Clearly later than the portrait discussed here, the Beechey piece is dated 1777

Neil Jeffares,

We seem to be going round in circles in this discussion; perhaps my previous post wasn’t sufficiently clear. Charles William Le Geyt (1733-1827) was in 25th Foot at the Battle of Minden in 1759, but the colours of that regiment are wrong. Between c.1760 and 1763 he was in the 94th (Royal Welsh Volunteers) which has exactly the right colours. After 1763 he was in the 63rd Foot which has the wrong colours. He married in April 1763. The portrait of his wife http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/elizabeth-shebbeare-first-wife-of-charles-william-le-geyt-137026 may be a pendant (the photographs are too poor to indicate what is happening in the oval, but the provenance is the same), and could well be contemporaneous. All this points to a date of 1763.
His son was in the 45th Foot which has the wrong colours.

Bruce Trewin,

Thanks Neil, your summary certainly seems to clarify that the description should say Charles William Le Geyt in the uniform of the Royal Welsh Volunteers, age 30. Probably a marriage pendant and certainly not by the 7 year old Henry Raeburn, or the 5 year old Hoppner, but still possibly by Nathanial Hone (dates are good) as are those for Tilly Kettle, who was just finishing at Oxford and establishing himself in London in 1763.

Martin Hopkinson,

Has anyone sent an image of this portrait to the National Gallery of Ireland which devoted an exhibition and publication to Nathaniel Hone in 1992?

Greaeme Cameron,

I would kindly request the evidence in support of the unequivocal opinion expressed above, that the above work is "absolutely not" by Gainsborough". .

Tim Williams,

If you see this painting by Cotes:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/John_Jervis,_Earl_of_St_Vincent_by_Francis_Cotes.jpg

you'll notice that the hilt of the sword is exactly the same as in this portrait. That is not because Cotes painted this portrait too, but because most sword hilts at this time looked similar.

In your comparison Greaeme, whilst Gainsborough's sitter is wearing 18th century military costume, nothing else is alike - the handling of the paint is more fluid, the composition, posture, use of light, brush size, palette, deft rendering of the epaulettes, skin tones - pretty much everything is different.

Greaeme Cameron,

Thanks for the considerate note Tim and your observations. The image believe it or not is only 46kbs and therefore no where near definitive enough to make "unequivocal judgements" from, especially on the rendering of the painted surface, so I earlier used the term "may be" and for "more research to be required" in my original note, on its potential/alternative authorship.

However, when adjusted as best as is possible, given such poor resolution,the handling/style comparisons do become much closer.
(Please refer to the adjusted image attached).

More interestingly, there is a portrait of his wife, (perhaps but not necessarily a pendant, as she seems older), which although also of low resolution, also has a feeling. in my humble opinion, of Gainsborough's hand as well.
That said, it is difficult to be any more certain with such low res images.

Thank you again and regards. G

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Bruce Trewin,

I am sure that Bendor's statement can be summarised in one word:
"connoisseurship"

Greaeme Cameron,

Bruce, since you have raised the above term in the context of this discussion,quite obviously inferring the alternative research suggestions provided by myself are lacking in that credential, should you have the time, the results of over 4 decades of more significant restitutions might serve to clarify the actual situation, which also included such forensic specialists as Prof. John Clement formerly of UCL, as has been recommended prudent this case.
Ref ; graemecameron.wix.com/graeme

Bruce Trewin,

Sorry Greaeme, haste on my part and no intention to be negative. The comments were based on my personal experience only and reflect only my thoughts at the moment. I will take more care in future.
My apologies.

Greaeme Cameron,

Not a problem Bruce, my research has remained in the background, unlike the work of others, and in the few contributions I will make to this site, I'm trying to assist the cause of art history, in providing answers to quandaries.
Other interesting restitutions will be forthcoming independently later 2014.

Heather French,

I am descended from this gentleman. On my mother's side.

Alice Read,

That's fascinating Heather, could you share any further information about your ancestor?

As Neil Jeffares noted (a year ago now), the portrait of Charles William Le Geyt (1733-1827) shows him in the uniform of the Royal Welsh Volunteers, which gives us a date in the early 1760s, probably 1763. Might there be any further suggestions about the artist? Hone has come into the discussion. Is this possible?

Martin Hopkinson,

As pointed out by Neil Jeffares, it seems possible that this is a pair with the portrait of his wife, also in the same collection. The style of that portrait seems to me in some respects comparable to that of Hone's portrait of Kitty Fisher in the NPG painted in 1765

Martin Hopkinson,

Cotes's style in the early 1760s does not seem to be very like that of this portrait

Jade King,

I have emailed the collection to request permission to post a high resolution image of this painting. Will pass on any response.

Heather French,

With reference to my earlier post, and in response to Ms Alice Payne's post, my great great great grandmother is Susan Mary Le Geyt and her father is Philip Le Geyt. Jersey family names include Colley, Curry, Le Geyt, Le Cras, and Mourant. (These connections have been researched and confirmed by a distant relative and given to us.) My great grandmother, Ethel May, was from Jersey, married a Terry of Kent and is buried in that county. My grandmother was born on Jersey and raised on Guernsey. My mother was born in Kent.

As a youngster in the Antipodes, my mother was plied with names, statements and fascinating stories from her mother of and about her family life and various individuals, both living and passed, back in Jersey and England. They included how we were related to Captain Charles William: the first Postmaster General of Jersey, about which “Victorian" Granny was immensely proud. However, I have since learned that Charles William did a great many more things than that for which he is well noted. In addition, Captain Charles William is nephew to Philippe Le Geyt, Lieutenant Bailiff of Jersey.

On a personal note, my brother says I bear the Captain's resemblance; I must say that I do get the feeling when I look at the painting that I am looking back into my ancestral soul-self - which is only possible due to the skill of the artist, Mr Raeburn (I presume?). It is a beautifully executed. There is a sketch of me when I was younger made by the Late Jack Earl, the renowned Australian maritime artist. It will be interesting to compare them, once I locate it (in storage).

My mother shared with me that my grandmother also mentioned Sir John Le Couteur of Jersey but I have yet to discover what connections we might have with that gentleman.

I hope that is vaguely interesting if not useful - or vice versa. And sorry for the delay. Had I known the painting was available for sale/auction, I would have bought it back into the family.

It's over 4 years since a high-resolution image was added to the discussion (Jade King, 14/07/2015 15:40). Could another look at it help us to make progress? The lifelike blue eyes even appear to have flecked irises. Are there any further thoughts on Nathaniel Hone or Francis Cotes?

Michael Hurman,

After 40 years of service with the Infantry this painting and identity piqued my interest.
Reading all the preceding threads clearly show lots of interest and expertise. I do not wish to contradict anyones hard efforts. But!! There do seem to be some inconsistencies, as I research, regarding the identity of the sitter and the regiments that he served with tied in with the uniform the sitter is wearing.

It seems fairly clear to me that the uniform is from the 16th Lancers http://britishcavalryregiments.com/36-16L/16L.html Lt Col Burgoyne is wearing a very similar uniform and the scarlet and yellow sash around the sword basket also seem to match. Also Greaeme Cameron's post of the Gainsborough painting depicts a similar uniform. The Line Infantry uniforms were very different.

The Le Geyt family page https://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/Charles_William_Le_Geyt
indicate that he commanded a company of Grenadiers at the Battle of Minden, before being placed on half pay with the 63rd. (This was normally a paper transaction to take retirement.)
The http://www.vingtaine.org/plaques/Minden.html plaque says he was with the 25th of foot, yes they would have had Grenadiers, but they did not become the Kings Own Scottish Borderers for another 46 years. Just me being picky.
I would like to dare suggest that Le Geyt did serve as above but not with the 16th Lancers; and therefore I think our sitter dressed in 16th Lancers Uniform of circa the period 1660s is not Charles Le Geyt.

Jacinto Regalado,

I assume Mr. Hurman meant 1760s in his last sentence.

Michael Hurman,

Thank you Jacinto, Yes 1760. It may be worth mentioning that similar uniform was being worn during the American war of independence. The 16th Lancers museum has one on display. So one could suggest the painting to be 1760- 1776.

Michael Hurman,

I have just received opinion from The 16th 5th Lancers museum saying that they think the uniform is not from the 16th Lancers. So please ignore my comments above. I will continue to try to identify the uniform.

The comment reads:
Dear Mike,

Thank you for your email re, Captain Charles William Le Geyt (1733–1827), 3rd Regiment of Foot.

I have checked our roll of 16th Light Dragoons/ Lancers officers for the above period and his name does not appear on our lists.

With regards to the uniform, although similar to the 16th Light Dragoons Circa 1765 , the facing colour is black not blue.
During the Peninsular campaign 1793 the uniform is completely different in style and the colour of the jacket is blue
The 16th did not become Lancers until 1816 and again the style uniform changes.

In my opinion the uniform in the painting is not that of a 16th LD or Lancer.
We have considered in the past of signing up on ArtUK and will look seriously now at following this up


Hope this helps.

Regards,

Mick

Captain (Retd) JM Holtby AMA

Curator

The Royal Lancers & Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum | Thoresby Courtyard, Thoresby Park, Perlethorpe, Nottinghamshire NG22 9EP.

Tel 01623 824222.
Website: http://www.qrlnymuseum.co.uk

Michael Hurman,

After a great deal of interesting research I can only conclude that The sitter is Charles Le Geyt and Yes he served with the 25th at the Battle of Minden aged 26 on 1 August 1759 commanding a company of Grenadiers in what was known as Maxwells Grenadiers Battalion a grouping of Grenadier Company's formed from 12th,20th,23rd,25th and 51st of Foot Regiments. Later retired on half pay from the 63rd most likely as described in 1763. The uniform in the painting is not from the 25th and not from the 63rd nor as above from the 16th Light Dragoons.
So maybe the uniform is of another regiment prior to 1859 perhaps at the age of 24 or 25 before he joins the 25th of foot. The Royal Jersey Militia were dressed in Scarlet but that is as much as I have so far discovered.

Good morning Michael,
Many thanks indeed for your helpful and interesting contribution to this discussion, and for sharing further helpful information from Mick Holtby of the Royal Lancers & Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum.

We are sorry for the problems with our website on Friday, which resulted in multiple entries being posted. The duplicates have been deleted now.

Michael Hurman,

Thank you Marion. I would like to suggest that a search of high quality portrait artist that were active in the period 1756-1759 that may be attributed to this painting would be a good idea.
Barbara Bryant, Portraits: British 19th C, 06/07/2014 09:57 post above suggested similar.

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