Portraits: British 16th and 17th C, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 3 Did William Dobson paint this portrait of James, 1st Marquess of Montrose?

James, 1st Marquess of Montrose
Topic: Artist

There is quite a similarity with William Dobson's portrait of Montrose after which there is a line engraving in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/35684/james-graham-1st-marquess-montrose-1612-1650-royalist

However, that print is probably eighteenth century, not seventeenth century.

George Vertue's engraving of the same portrait (an impression of which is in the British Museum) was made in 1731: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3606136&partId=1&searchText=montrose&page=1

The National Trust for Scotland would be interesting to know more about it. The previous director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, James Holloway, had commented a few years ago that he believed the painting could be by Dobson but was, at the very least, from the circle of Dobson.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

3 comments

Kieran Owens,

Much of the debate regarding the various portraits of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, can be found here:

https://www.artuk.org/artdetective/discussions/discussions/if-not-james-graham-of-montrose-who-is-this-sitter-is-he-from-the-european-mainland

As mentioned therein, a useful discussion on the multiplicity of very different images of James Graham - from four paintings that, it is claimed, bear the greatest resemblance to him, and on to "the endless engravings of the penny-print school" - can be found in the first appendix of the first volume of the 1856 edition of "Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose" by Mark Napier. The attached composite shows these four "true likenesses" as described in the book.

https://archive.org/stream/memoirsmarquism02napigoog#page/n410/mode/2up/search/penny-print

Attached also are two other composites depicting Graham.

I agree with Rab MacGibbon: this portrait is definitely of copy quality. While apparently deriving from the work sold at Sotheby's in 2013, it lacks the latter's confident handling of the face, and the painting of the collar and the armour is more laboured.

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