Completed Military History, Portraits: British 19th C, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 117 Who painted this Light Infantry officer? Can you tell us more about the subject?

Topic: Artist

The painting is signed in monogram and dated 1877 bottom left.

The collection has no information on the artist. The painting was retrospectively accessioned in 1984, and the cataloguer at that time wrote ‘The artist is unknown and an inscription reads “18 SI 77”.’ There is no provenance.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

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Completed, Outcome

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Christopher Foley,

Is not the monogram "RS", with the R in mirror-image rather than "IS" ? It calls to mind the early portraits of Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples (1853-1943), but his monogram is (at least later on) an S within an inverted U (= a staple)

Martin Hopkinson,

Staples exhibited a male portrait at the Royal Academy in 1877
no 1353 Sir N A Staples Bart. He was the 10th Baronet, Sir Nathaniel Alexander [1817-99], who settled at Lissan House in the 1880s.
The artist, his second son, became the 13th baronet when his brother Sir John Staples died in 1933 , who was unfortunately insane.
This portrait might be of Sidney George Staples who was an officer of the Plymouth Division of the Royal Marine Light Infantry

Charles Griffin,

The uniform is certainly a light infantry or Rifle uniform of the British Army. It is not the uniform of the Royal Marines Light Infantry. They wore red tunics. If he is an officer of the regular (full-time) army then the uniform would be that of the Rifle Brigade. If we knew the sitter's name it would be easy enough to look at the Army Lists for the late 1870s. But this uniform was also worn by numerous Rifle Volunteer units which were part-time like the Territorials of modern times. That would make it difficult to identify. The best way to identify the unit would be a close inspection of the badge on his pouch-belt just below his beard.

Andrew Cormack,

The uniform appears to be that of the Rifle Brigade, but the fact that the officer wears a beard would suggest that he belonged to one of the non-Regular battalions of that regiment. The 5th Battn was the Militia Battn at the end of C19th, but there may have been others. Only 1st and 2nd were Regulars. Try the Rifles Museum in Winchester.

Charles Griffin,

I attach a watercolour by Orlando Norie which I found on the Brown University website. It is dated 1876 and shows an officer and rifleman of the Rifle Brigade. The officer's uniform is similar to the one worn by the sitter in question, but the cuffs are black and the ornaments on his pouchbelt are silver (badge and whistle chain etc). This points to the probability that the sitter is an officer of a Rifle Volunteer unit rather than the Rifle Brigade.

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The Amelia has no further information in its records. The collections are in off-site storage at present, as the building is undergoing a huge redevelopment. They are due to return in Spring 2022, when they will be able to take some detailed photographs of this painting.

Arthur Mcclench,

The subject's facial hair also suggests a Rifle Volunteer rather than a Regular officer since by 1877 regulations had been tightened up to re-impose order on the heavy beards that had flourished in the Crimea and in India during the Sepoy Mutiny, and the whiskers that became fashionable afterwards - as indicated in the Orlando Norrie painting above

1868 Queen’s Regulations, p. 853

58. The following directions in regard to the growth of hair are to be strictly observed by all ranks. The hair is to be neatly cut, and kept short. Moustaches are to be worn, and the chin is to be shaved (except by pioneers, who will wear beards also). Whiskers, when worn, are to be of moderate length. On active service in the field beards may, however, be worn at the discretion of the General Officer commanding.

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Jacob Simon,

This discussion poses two questions:

Who painted this Light Infantry officer?

We have so far been unable to identify the monogram. The Amelia offers detail photos of the picture in a year's time but these are unlikely to unlock the name of the artist unless photos of the reverse help in this respect.

Can you tell us more about the subject?
It seems that the officer may have been a Rifle Volunteer as Arthur Mcclench suggests.

Has the time come to close this discussion on the basis that it is unlikely to progress further?

Jacob Simon,

Subject to responses by the collection and by Jenny as group leader for military history, I recommend that we now close this discussion rather than waiting until spring 2022 when the collection reopens.

The discussion poses two questions:

Who painted this Light Infantry officer?
We have so far been unable to identify the monogram. Detail photos offered by the collection next year are unlikely to unlock the name of the artist.

Can you tell us more about the subject?
It seems that the officer may have been a Rifle Volunteer as Arthur Mcclench suggests.

Marcie Doran,

My cellphone has a feature called Google Lens. When I used Google Lens on the ArtUK painting of the “Light Infantry Officer”, an entry on the Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada came up. Is it possible that the sitter is Thomas Bland Strange (b. India 1831 - d. England 1925). The photo is so similar (height, face, and enormous beard) that I felt I should mention it.

Martin Hopkinson,

In 1877 Strange was in the School of Gunnery in Quebec City [B Battery Garrison Artilery] to the command of which he hd been appointed in September 1871. He was a Lieutenant - Colonel
Does this uniform fit a Canadian sitter?

Jacob Simon,

Attached is a better image of Strange. Beard, yes. Face and uniform, different to our man.

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Jacob, thank you for recommending that we close this on the assumption that further investigation is unlikely to give us an answer. I imagine so, because the collection couldn't add anything when we put this up. It’s always worth asking whether anyone could identify a monogram.

Let's close it, but I live near The Amelia, as it will be called when the old Tunbridge Wells art gallery re-opens after extensive reconstruction, so I'll ask the collection if I could see it before it's put back on display. In case anyone is wondering at the strange name, the new arts and heritage centre is named after Amelia Scott, a social reformer and campaigner for women's suffrage who lived and worked in Tunbridge Wells.

Looking at military portraits with monograms, I considered Scottish artist Robert Inerarity Herdman, but looking closer at his monogram (examples attached from 'Fern Gatherer' and 'Evening') it wasn't a match. I thought of him after seeing his 'Colonel Shaw-Lefevre'. I agree with Christopher Foley that there's a reversed R and an S, and I think possibly I or T in the middle.

Jacob Simon,

Marion, I warmly welcome your proposal to see the picture before the Amelia opens, ideally also the reverse.

You must find a way of reviewing the new Amelia to keep us in the loop. If not here perhaps via Bendor's Art History blog??

The collection will be very glad to show me the picture once it's been moved back from the off-site storage. That's planned for January but it will take some weeks to unpack and rearrange the collection.

Marcie Doran,

I am wondering if anyone has any images of works by Richard Thomas Smart (1825-1912) the London-based portrait painter and art restorer. There is a long piece about him on the entry for Seguier & Smart on this page about restorers on the website of the National Portrait Gallery.

He seems to always use his middle initial on Census entries. Note that his 1871 entry is under the name “Henry T. Smart”.

This painting “Sir Charles James Napier” by an unknown Smart on the National Portrait Gallery website is quite similar to the mystery work.

While Smart’s signature is on his marriage bond, marriage record and the 1911 Census, I don’t think those three documents are helpful given this is a monogram. I can attach them if anyone wishes to see them.

S. Elin Jones,

I think that the artist that painted the ‘Light Infantry Officer’ may be a gentleman called Robert Sanderson.

Attached a selection of examples of his work and signatures. He generally tended to use a ligature at the beginning and as a part of his signature, but I believe that on occasions where a whole signature would be aesthetically inappropriate, he would use just the monogram.
i) Robert Sanderson - Signatures

I think that the example of the signature and date on the ‘Berwick Harbour’ may also have a flat top and bottom on the number 8 digit, as in our painting. There are also a few paintings by the artist on ArtUK

Mr Sanderson was born, lived, and worked for the majority of his life in the Edinburgh Area. He does not appear to have travelled extensively outside of Scotland. He also exhibited in oil and watercolour at various Scottish exhibitions, including the Royal Scottish Academy and other Scottish exhibitions.

Robert Sanderson was born to wood carver and gilder, Robert Sanderson and his wife Caroline in ‘Raeburn Place’, Edinburgh, Midlothian, in 1836. According to the 1851 census he is listed as being a ‘Wood Carver’s Apprentice’, and living at ‘Dicks Close’, Cowgate.

He married Sarah Jacob on 20th September 1859, and between the years of 1860 and 1875 they proceeded to have at least eight children.

Robert Sanderson worked from his home address of 28 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh until 1875 where his listing in the Post Office Directory records as an artist working at the address of 6 Forest Road, Edinburgh. This is the address he would have been working from when our portrait was painted. This is also the place he is recorded as living at in various census reports, directories and other documentation until his death on 8th July 1918.
ii) Probate - Robert Sanderson

I also think that his date of birth and death may also be incorrect, as they generally seem to be on most databases.

Occupation as listed on various census
1861 - Artist Landscape and Printer (transcribed as)
1871 - Artist Historical Painter
1881 - Artist Fine Arts
1891 - Artist “Fine Art”
1901 - Artist Painter

Could the Officer in the painting have a Scottish connection or be from the East of Scotland?
or in a volunteer unit in Scotland? (The tunic does look a little similar.)

Could this portrait have also been exhibited in one of the Scottish Exhibitions?
I have limited access to exhibition records from Scotland, but here are a few unconfirmed examples of the work of Robert Sanderson’s exhibiting history at at the Royal Scottish Academy, as found in various Newspaper articles.
Does anyone else have access to these records?

RSA 1875 - “Puzzled”
RSA 1876 - “The Fisherman’s daughter”
RSA 1891 - (379) “The Motherless Bairn” (on ArtUK, Glasgow Museums)
RSA 1895 - “The Wishing Well”
RSA 1896 - (173) “Homeward Bound”

Jacinto Regalado,

The problem, Elin, is that Sanderson does not appear to have been a portrait painter, and his linked works that include figures appear rather unaccomplished, certainly more so than our portrait.

Martin Hopkinson,

Should we be looking beyond the UK for both the artist and sitter?

Jacob Simon,

I'm hoping, Marion, that your proposal to see the picture before the Amelia opens, ideally also the reverse, is still going to prove possible.

Jacob Simon,

I repeat my recommendation of 10/07/2021 to close this discussion.

S. Elin Jones,

I suggested earlier in the thread that this portrait could be the work of a Scottish artist called Robert Sanderson.

There is a similar-looking monogram in the ‘Victorian Painters’ Monograms’ by Peter Nahum.
In addition, there are signatures of interest on paintings sold within the last year and attributed to the painter Robert Sanderson.

The paintings are signed with a full surname and date. The word Sanderson is formed from a monogram. I feel these monograms are almost identical to the monogram on the ‘Light Infantry Officer’ portrait. The shape of the number eight is also very similar.
(i) Sanderson Monograms and Signatures

Martin Hopkinson,

Robert Sanderson of Edinburgh 1848-1908 , who exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy - can this have been exhibited there? - and at the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours
However, his paintings on line do not look much like this or those on artuk

The monogram comparison is convincing, including the flattenend '8' forms in the dates. At 1877, it is also earlier and than the other examples, which may account for their slightly more cursory, habituated style in the diagonal 'leg' of the reversed 'R'. Even though a portrait (again relatively early, when he would have been about 29/30) and unlike his 'genre' figure subjects, that is more a question of market than radically different manner, and given he's an obscure figure anyway no third party would have had reason to fake his signature on such a work. 'If it looks like a duck...'etc.

Martin Hopkinson,

I think that he was not that obscure in Scotland - one would be happier if one had an opinion from an authority well versed in Scottish painting of the last third of the late 19th century. The opinion of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery should be sought
It has an extensive of photographs of Scottish portraits that are not in public hands

Jacinto Regalado,

Sanderson apparently did not exhibit at the RSA.

S. Elin Jones,

I have limited access to the records, but the following may be of use:

RSA 1872 - The Lesson
RSA 1872 - Pure Crawley Sir

According to the account in The Scotsman newspaper, Sanderson exhibited at least two paintings in the Royal Scottish Academy in 1872, and the Royal Association bought two of his artworks.

The Scotsman - 20 Feb, 1872
“Royal Scottish Academy - The following purchases were made yesterday:- By Private Individuals ……
:-By the Royal Association - “The Lesson, “ by Robert Sanderson, £15,” ….
“Pure Crawley, Sir,” by Robert Sanderson, £8,”
i) Sanderson RSA.1872

RSA 1875 - Puzzled
The Edinburgh Evening News - 22 March, 1875
“Royal Scottish Academy - The following pictures have been sold at the exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy:-….”Puzzled,” by Robert Sanderson, £80;…”
ii) Sanderson RSA.1875

RSA 1876 - The Fisherman’s daughter
“….and R. Sanderson in “The Fisherman’s Daughter,’ a figure of a fisher-girl, the arms not quite correct in drawing, but the background of sea and sky having a good deal of the breezy freshness of nature. “
iii) Sanderson RSA.1876

RSA 1891 - The Motherless Bairn
The Midlothian Journal - 10 April, 1891
“The R.S.A Exhibition…Another Irish scene is from the easel of R. Sanderson “The Mitherless Bairn” (379). Pat has the babbie on his knee and is trying to feed it with a spoon, not quite successfully. An important little pig stands in front either sympathising or waiting for some of the food; the cabin interior is carefully painted, and the single picture raises the hope that more from the same brain will be found in future exhibitions.”
iv) Sanderson RSA.1891

RSA 1895 - The Wishing Well
The Midlothian Journal - 19 April, 1895
“The Royal Scottish Academy 1895
The 69th Exhibition
Robert Sanderson provides a bonnie bit in “The Wishing Well”, and as a bonnie bairn beside it;”…
v) Sanderson RSA.1895

RSA 1896 - Homeward Bound
The Portobello Advertiser - 27 March, 1896
“The Royal Scottish Academy
The Seventieth Exhibition
“Robert Sanderson’s (173) “Homeward Bound” is a little gem; the sea and boat, the old salt and the caller fisher lass are works of art, well-balanced, firmly coloured and sparkling. We wish it were ours.”
vi) Sanderson RSA.1896

Jacinto Regalado,

I now realise that the source I consulted, via Art UK, only lists the exhibited works of RSA members, which presumably Sanderson was not.

Yes, it's easy to forget the 'members only' limitation of the McKay & Rinder catalogue (1917), though individual annual ones presumably exist for even that to have been done. Full compilation/digitization - and continuation from its 1916 end date - ought to be on someone's 'to do' list if not so already.

Martin Hopkinson,

Much more up to date is Charles Baile de Laperriere's book covering 1826-1990 published by Hilmarton Manor Press, Calne in 1991 in many major public libraries covering all the works [including non members] in all RSA annual exhibition

Thanks Martin: I'd missed that though see its in the bibliography in this Art UK piece:

Worth adding to the Discussions 'Resources' link for Mckay & Rinder though, just to point out it exists:

Royal Scottish Academy, 1826–1916 (members only): for a full list see Charles Baile de Laperriere (ed.), The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1826–1990.... (Calne, 1991).

Osmund Bullock,

He doesn't appear in Wood's 'Victorian Painters', but has a brief entry in Stewart & Cutten's 'Portrait Painters in Britain up to 1920'. They say he exhibited no less than 106 works at the RSA, though that will be of all types, not just portraits, and their listing of him as a portraitist may only derive from a directory listing. I'm working through Edinburgh directories right now, and the results are already *very* informative - more shortly.

Johnson & Greutzner gives 49 works exhibited by him at the RSA from 1880 (when J&G begins) to 1903, implying there were 57 there up to 1879. They also list post-1880 exhibiting at Glasgow Inst (17), plus odd ones at Liverpool & Royal Scottish Soc of W'colour Painters.

Osmund Bullock,

Also apparently has an entry in 'Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture' (Peter J McEwan 1995).

Jacinto Regalado,

He appears to have been primarily a genre painter, though he made other types of pictures. He clearly does not appear to have specialised in portraits.

Martin Hopkinson,

The exhibits at The Royal Glasgow Institute exhibitions can be found in Roger Billcliffe's 4 volumes

Points not yet clear in biographical information above (primarily from S. Elin Jones, 11/10/2021 07:43) are:

- a more precise date of birth than 1836 (which may be by implication from census returns there cited)
-mother's maiden name and at least his father's dates (esp. date of death) since he was presumably his father's apprentice when listed as one in the 1851 census
- where he married Sarah Jacob (though Edinburgh implied) on 28 September 1859, and her dates - or at least d.o.d. since one of his daughters being his executor in 1918 may imply that he died a widower or that his wife was by then also very old
- earliest known date of them living at 28 George IV Bridge. !875 seems to be when they moved to 6 Forrest Road but the sentence mentioning is a little unclear.

Martin Hopkinson,

I am still uncomfortable that this should be considered by a Scottish artist

If not by Robertson, whose monogram is clearly enough on it, either (a) he put the monogram on someone else's work or (b) a third party put Robertson's monogram on someone else's work (inc., perhaps, his own). Apart from identifying anyone other than Robertson who might have been involved, one needs a credible reason to explain either. Neither are impossible, both inherently improbable: the simple explanation is the most likely, though it would help to see evidence of Robertson painting other portraits (and images of some).

Jacinto Regalado,

Sanderson's genre pictures not infrequently involved a single figure, but they are types, not individual people, so not that helpful.

Osmund Bullock,

Actually, Jacinto, he *does* seem to have specialized in portraits for a decade. Attached is a PDF of the data from Sanderson's Edinburgh Directory listings from his first appearance in 1864 to his last in 1918. You can see that between 1871 and 1881 he lists himself, in whole or part, as a Portrait Painter. None of the censuses show him as this, but that may well be explained by the timing vis à vis the census dates. It is also no surprise that a versatile artist with a family to feed would abandon portrait painting after giving it a shot in the 1870s - in fact he could hardly have chosen a worse time to try, as it was during the 1860-80s that the demand for painted portraits - at least from a middle-class / lesser gentry clientele - progressively collapsed as good-quality photography became more and more available, affordable and fashionable.

It's a little surprising no other portraits by him have yet been found; but if he generally signed them with only a monogram, it's quite possible that they are around but unattributed. It will be interesting to see if he exhibited any at the RSA and the GI during the relevant period. If no-one else has easy access, I may be able to get to the NAL to check the two books next week.

Jacinto Regalado,

Osmund, should you go to the NAL, don't forget to check the French book on sculpted portraits of Napoleon (for a different discussion) that Marion asked you about.

Osmund Bullock,

Exactly what I was planning to do, Jacinto, but the reminder is very welcome!

Jacinto Regalado,

I expect that, as Osmund surmises, there must be other Sanderson portraits from the 1870s that are currently unattributed and probably mostly in private hands, though no doubt some are in Scottish public collections and similarly unattributed due to the cryptic monogram.

Jacinto Regalado,

Regarding our portrait, it would be desirable to check Baile de Laperriere's book to see if it was exhibited at the RSA c. 1877.

Marcie Doran,

I ordered Sanderson’s will from the Scotlandspeople website but can't post it under the terms of that website. He left 20 pounds sterling to his granddaughter Florence Ray Russell “in consideration of her services as my housekeeper”. He left to “Mrs. Rachel Sarah Joan Sanderson or Johnston”, his daughter, “the framed portrait in oil of herself painted by me, and presently hanging on the walls of my house”. He left to “Mrs. Caroline Isa Sanderson or Osborne”, his daughter, “the framed portrait in oil of herself painted by me, and hanging on the walls of my house”. He left the residue of his estate to his five daughters, the two mentioned above and “Mrs. Robina Jacob Sanderson or Russell”, “Mrs. Ada Henrietta Jacob Sanderson or Kewley” and “Mrs. Amy Louisa Jacob Sanderson or Maclulich”.

Here is the record that shows that his wife Sarah Sanderson (née Jacob) passed away on 31 March 1911. As shown on another record on Ancestry, Robert and Sarah were married in Edinburgh.

S. Elin Jones,

It would be great if you were able to check the records, Mr Bullock, and I do think it would be interesting to see Sanderson's exhibition history.

I've looked through some of my old research. There are a few summarised points that may help to fill in some of the blanks.

George IV Bridge was also connected to Robert Sanderson due to the fact that it was the home of the Jacob family (his in-laws). They moved into the property in approx 1850/51. Moses Jacob was also a local Broker and auctioneer.

Robert Sanderson Sr. (Gilder & Carver)
b. 19.08.1809 in the parish of Edinburgh
Father - Pringle Sanderson
Mother - Jane Clark
m. Caroline Ross at St Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, 01.01.1831
1841 census - Raeburn Place, Midlothian - Carver Gilder
1851 census- Dicks Close, 267, Cowgate - Wood Carver Journeyman
1861 - Woodcarver employing one man - James Court, Midlothian.
d. 13.01.1866

Robert Sanderson Jr. (Artist)
b. 1835
Father - Robert Sanderson
Mother - Caroline Ross
1841 Census - (5) Raeburn Place, Midlothian
1851 Census - (15) Dicks Close, 267 Cowgate - Woodcarvers apprentice.
m. Sarah Jacob, Edinburgh, 20.09.1859
1861 Census - (25) 28 Geo. 4 Bridge, Midlothian - Artist Gandes Printer. (?)
1871 Census - (35) 28 Geo. IV Bridge, Midlothian - Artist Hestorical Painter (Historical?)
1881 Census - (43) 6 Forest Rd, Artist Fine Arts
1891 Census - (54) No. Forest Rd - Artist, Fine Art
1901 Census - (62) 6 Forest Rd
d. 8.07.1918, Woodburn Terrace, Pitlochry.

Sarah Sanders nee Jacob
Father - Moses Jacob,
Mother - Sarah Shuker
b. 15.04.1838
d. 31.03.1911, 6 Forest Road.

Moses Jacob
m Sarah Suker
d. 11.05.1865, 32 George IV Bridge
1851 census - 33 George IV Bridge - Dealer in old furniture and books.
1861 census - 32 Geo. 4 Bridge - Broker
d. 11.05.1865 - Auctioneer

S. Elin Jones,

Moses' wife was listed both as Suker and Shuker in his will as if she had previously been known by both.

It also looks as if Sanderson's body may have been transported back to Edinburgh from Pitlochry by train in order to be buried with his wife as he was taken to the burial from Caledonian Station.

Thanks for taking the trouble Marcie: it will be interesting to see if the printed Scottish exhibition lists add other non-family portraits but that proves he did them. Given he was about 82 when he died at Pitlochry, it's a reasonable assumption he did so in the house of one of his daughters and that, by then, they were probably all the surviving children.

Osmund Bullock,

Pieter, surely Sanderson's directory listings already prove he was an active portraitist...or do you think he advertised himself as one for a decade, but had no takers?! It was indeed at his daughter Robina Russell’s home at Pitlochry that he died, and she was the informant and present - see attached, where his age at death (8/7/1918) is actually stated as 83 (rather than 82), though ages of the deceased are notoriously unreliable; and the certificate also wrongly gives his mother Caroline’s name as ‘Ann’.

A few tiny tweaks to Elin Jones’s very full data. It’s Forrest Road, Edinburgh, not Forest; and the queried transcriptions of profession from 1861 & 1871 are ‘Artist Landscape painter’ & ‘Artist Historical Painter’ respectively. I attach the originals, along with that of 1911 – I foolishly coughed up for them before realising that Elin (if I may) had already cracked the genealogy when she first suggested Sanderson 18 months ago...and we largely ignored her! Robert Sanderson and Sarah Jacob were indeed married at Edinburgh on 20/9/1859 (attached) - oddly a correction to the original certificate (in line with a deposition made by her father in Feb 1864) clearly gives her mother’s maiden surname as ‘Sucker’, rather than Suker or Shuker (though that hardly concerns us). Oh, and the move to George IV Bridge must have been later than 1850/51 (a typo?) – it was clearly between their 1859 marriage (when his address was in High Riggs, Cowfeeder Row) and the 1861 Census.

Given that Sanderson was still a ‘Journeyman Carver’ at the time of his marriage, and five years later was an artist working from premises provided by his auctioneer father-in-law, I wonder whether the latter mightn’t have had some hand in his change of career?

Osmund Bullock,

His precise year of birth may never be known, as there seems to be no birth/baptism record for him, nor indeed for any of his siblings bar one (a brother, Pringle, born at Edinb St Cuthbert’s in June 1840). Robert Junr and his wife Sarah were married in 1859 by a minister of the United Presbyterian Church at his home; if the family had been in one of its predecessor congregations in the 1830s, that might explain why we can’t find those birth records.

Moving on to secondary evidence, his first four censuses (1841-71, Apr/Jun) give his age consistently as 5/15/25/35; 1881-1901 give it as 43/54/62, and should probably be ignored; then 1911 is back on track with 75. Also consistent is the age of 23 given for him at his marriage on 23/9/1859. Taken together these suggest he was born in the last quarter of 1835 or the first of 1836 (the ‘c.1837’ I put at the top of the directory listings is incorrect).

Osmund Bullock,

Sorry, typo: 20/9/1959 not 23/9/1859 three lines up.

Thanks to both Elin and Osmund: the details/timings are clarifying in a running CV but pending whatever RSA and other offline 'works' listings may add. Its always interesting when an (obviously) Jewish connection also turns up adding -as here -intriguing individual enterprise to the mix: clearly no issue for the United Presbyterian minister who married them but one can imagine canting gossip in the darker alleys of 'Old Town' Edinburgh!

Marcie Doran,

I've been researching Robert Junr’s mother Caroline Sanderson (née Ross). Her marriage record indicates that her father's name was John Ross and Census records indicate that she was born in England. I ordered two death records for women named Caroline Sanderson on the Scotlandspeople website.

The record from 1883 (685/3 135) was for Robert Junr’s sister. She was unmarried when she passed away on February 27 at the age of 26 of eclampsia. She was a "Paper Picker”. That record indicates that both her father Robert Sanderson, a "Wood Carver” and her mother Caroline Sanderson (“M.S. Ross”) were deceased. Her older sister Margaret Finner attended her death at 16 High Catton in Edinburgh.

The record from 1874 (677/ 206) was likely that of Robert Junr’s mother. Sadly, “Caroline. R. [Ross] Sanderson” passed away on December 30, of chronic diarrhea, in the “City Poor House”. She was 59 years old and a widow. She was also recorded living at the “Edinburgh City Poorhouse“ in the 1871 Census.

The four censuses 1841 to 1871 give her age as 28/40/51/57. Her age at death would imply a year of birth of 1816. She was likely born between 1810 and 1816 and her first child Ann was born in about 1832.

A rough tally of the children: first names only, based on very quick look at Ancestry in the office but not enough to sort out the I/I, I/J initials, or more exact dates, though it looks as though Isa (male or female or both?) and Jacob were recurring second names. * are the surviving daughters mentioned in his will.

Sarah, b. 4. Aug. 1860 - d. 20 Dec. 1862

Jane, b. about 1862/3:painter, living in 1881 but apparently not in 1918

*Rachel, b. about 1863/4, m. Johnston, d. after 1918

Isa, b. about 1865/6: living in 1881 but not in 1918

*Caroline, b. 1866, m. Osborne, d. after 1918

Edwin, b. 3 May 1867 - d. 11 July 1910 (married, one son who d. 1961)

*Robina, b. 1869/70, m. Russell, d. after 1918

*Ada, b. 1873, m. Thomas Kewley, d. after 1918

*Amy, b. 1875, m. Maclulich, d. after 1918

Marcie Doran,

Some updates:

Sarah, b. 4. Aug. 1860 - d. 20 Dec. 1862

Jane, b. about 1862/3:painter, living in 1881 but apparently not in 1918

*Rachel, reportedly b. 1862, m. Doctor William Johnson (her father’s will was incorrect), d. 12 September 1951 in Bloemfontein, South Africa

Robert, b. 1864, d. 1869

*Caroline Isa, reportedly b. 1865, m. Doctor Herbert Osborne, d. 1944 in Pretoria, South Africa

Edwin, b. 3 May 1867 - d. 11 July 1910 (married, one son who d. 1961)

*Robina, b. 1869, m. James Russell, d. after 1918

*Ada, b. 1872, m. Thomas Kewley, death reg. 1945 Q4 in Hull

*Amy, reportedly b. 1874, m. Doctor John Peers MacLulich, d. after 1918

That does not look likely, Marcie. Rachel is noted as 8 in the 1871 census, does not appear at Forrest Road in that for 1881, married Dr Johnson aged about 19 in 1882 and left the UK with him (1889). Are you also quite sure she was originally 'Joan'? As already mentioned, I have not - in haste - yet seen the original MS census entries: Ancestry transcribes hers for 1871 as 'Rachel S I' and for others of them 'I' = 'Isa'.

Jane is 18 in the 1881 census for Forrest Rd and listed there as 'Miss J. Robertson' in 'The Year's Art' for her RSA exhibit that year.

Pinning down her dates (esp. death) would be useful and for the 'Isa C. I' (son or daughter?) listed as 15 in the 1881 census which is the other one also rather adrift.

Robertson may well have painted portraits of all his children who survived infancy. The fairly obvious reason he still had those of the two daughters who went to South Africa was as mementos of them. By 1918 he had presumably passed on others to his children still in easy reach. One can only wonder if the two in SA ever got theirs.

Martin Hopkinson,

Sanderson not Robertson surely
Despite the initials we need something approching the style of this portrait to support the attribution, don't we?

Sorry Martin: second time I've crossed that wire here: hope its just the subliminal dyslexia that hard experience has made me learn to check I always get left/right and east/west the right way round when drafting - and not a symptom of something worse!

Ideally, on the style point, you are right; but the circumstantial evidence is clear enough for 'attributed to'.

Marcie Doran,

Pieter, see the first attachment of my post dated 28/02/2023 00:46. It states on the second line that she was known as “Joan Rachel Sarah Johnson”. I think the Census-taker misspelled “Joan” as “Jane” in 1881. I’ve checked the original record.

Under the terms of the Scotlandspeople website, users may post up to 20 images on a website. Here are my first four: Sanderson’s will and the official correction of Rachel’s name to include Joan.

Isa is Caroline.

Ah so...all now clearer: so 8 in all as follows.

Sarah, b. 4 Aug. 1860 - d. 20 Dec. 1862

Rachel Sarah Joan (known primarily as Joan, b. 1862, painter who exhibited once at the RSA, 1881, as 'Miss J. Sanderson', m. Doctor William Johnson in 1882, emigrated to South Africa with him in 1889, 4 children, d. 12 September 1951 in Bloemfontein

Robert, b. 1864 - d.1869

*Caroline Isa [and probably Jacob since 'Caroline I J' in 1871 and 'Isa C I' in 1881 census], reportedly b. 1865, m. Doctor Herbert Osborne and emigrated to South Africa with him (no date but probably late 1800s), d. 1944 in Pretoria

Edwin, b. 3 May 1867 - d. 11 July 1910 (married, one son who d. 1961)

*Robina Jacob, b. 1869, m. James Russell (and had at least one child, Florence Ray), d. after 1918

*Ada Henrietta Jacob, b. 1872, m. Thomas Kewley, death reg. 1945 Q4 in Hull

*Amy Louisa Jacob, reportedly b. 1874, m. Doctor John Peers MacLulich, d. after 1918

Johnson & Greutner 'British Artists 1880-1940', (2008 repr.) p. 446

SANDERSON, Joan Exh. 1880-82
Forest Road [sic], Edinburgh, RSA 2

SANDERSON, Robert Exh. 1880-1903
Forest Road [sic], Edinburgh GI 17, L 1, RSA 49, RSW 1

i.e. Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Liverpool (Walker AG), Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Scottish Soc. of Painters in Watercolour.

Also raises the question to which year Joan's 'Year's Art 1881' entry refers.

Osmund Bullock,

Pieter, I discussed the Johnson & Greutzner and other book entries for Robert above at 25/02/2023 15:28 (but not for Joan, as I was looking for Jane). I agree that 'Jane' was likely the result of a misheard 'Joan' by the 1881 census enumerator (unless it was a family nickname, of which there is no other evidence).

Even without buying the original images, the Scottish Statutory Birth records confirm all those birth dates, so the remaining 'reportedly' qualifications can be removed. They also give the middle names of all the children, albeit truncated (but still deducible). See attached.

Osmund Bullock,

The extra details may be more than is useful for Pieter, but I've cheated the rest of the 'Women of South Africa' biography of Joan from the Google Books snippets. The first part (bar a missing photo) is as it appears in the book; the rest was extracted by playing around with the text of search results. I don't understand why later in the piece it seem to suggest she was born in SA (having earlier said she was born in Edinburgh) - either an error in the original, or in the way the OCR scanned the page.

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Thanks Osmund: the virtue of these 'joint enterprise' discussions is how the information refines from rough-cut to precise from the varrying levels of skill (esp. online) and time different contributors put in. Their disadvantage is that the ever-lengthening 'scroll' format makes things easy to miss and refind and -certainly in my case - sometimes forget while chasing other hares. Now you point it out I did see your previous mention of J&G but, had I remembered it, I would not have looked myself in passing the shelf today and thereby spotted Joan there too as a more-than-one-time RSA entrant.

Cf. Polonius :'... And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out...'

(Hamlet II.i)

Marcie Doran,

I hope no-one minds getting all this information.


Sarah, b. 4 Aug. 1860 - d. 20 Dec. 1862

*Rachel Sarah Joan (known primarily as Joan), b. 30 December 1862, painter who exhibited two works at the RSA, 1880-1882 as 'Miss J. Sanderson' or ‘Miss Joan Sanderson’, m. Doctor William Johnson in 1882 in Scotland and emigrated to South Africa with him in 1889, 4 children, d. 12 September 1951 in Bloemfontein

Robert Alfred Jacob, b. 3 October 1864 - d. 11 July 1869

*Caroline Isa Jacob, b. 12 November 1865, m. Doctor Herbert Osborne in 1888 in Scotland and emigrated to South Africa with him (no date but probably late 1800s), d. 1944 in Pretoria

Edwin Jacob, b. 3 May 1867 - d. 11 July 1910, m. Janet Mackenzie Grant (d. 1904) in 1892 in Scotland, one son who d. 1961, m. Isabella Gray in 1905 in Scotland

*Robina Jacob, b. 26 June 1869, m. James Russell 10 October 1887 in New York (and had at least one child, Florence Ray), d. 2 January 1953 in London

*Ada Henrietta Jacob, b. 16 April 1872, m. Thomas Kewley in 1900 in Scotland, death reg. 1945 Q4 in Hull

*Amy Louisa Jacob, b. 23 November 1874, m. Doctor John Peers MacLulich, d. after 1918

Osmund Bullock,

Well, to be honest, I am finding it rather exhausting, especially as so much of it repeats what has already been written. I would imagine that anyone interested in art history visiting AD for the first time would take one look and never come back. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can't imagine Pieter is going to list in his biog the precise genealogical details of all Sanderson's children and even grandchildren (not to mention hosts of antecedents and siblings and even their causes of death) what's the point? Sorry to be so blunt, but I think you need to learn to edit: you really don't have to share with us every single thing you find.

Marcie Doran,

That is indeed too blunt, Osmund. The repetition of family names made the research very challenging. And, you are mistaken – I did not research Sanderson’s grandchildren or add details about them in my comments.


Are you going to post the image of Joan’s painting from that 1899 newspaper article (28/02/2023 20:00)? I’m sure that people would like to see it.

Jacob Simon,

I suggest that we refocus on the discussion question, "Who painted this Light Infantry officer? Can you tell us more about the subject?"

Jacinto Regalado,

The painter has been identified beyond reasonable doubt. The sitter remains unknown, and it seems the best way forward is to check what Sanderson exhibited around 1877 at the RSA and, if possible, other Scottish venues.

'Working draft' biography attached, for completion when/if more exact dates and subject details of his exhibiting record appear.
Considering almost nothing existed before and even his dates of birth and death were generally wrong (inc on Art UK) this is a general advance - and enough - even if doubts still eventually remain about attribution of the painting in question here.

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Thank you for the draft biography, and all contributions to it.

I've left a voicemail message asking to see the painting. Sorry, I've been meaning to do this for some time. When I first offered to visit The Amelia (2021) it was closed for renovation and extension. In the interim Elin has found us the artist (probably), but it may still help if I can get photographs of the front, back and frame.

The sitter remains unknown and Sanderson's 1870s exhibits have yet to be checked. I have added this discussion to our 'Scotland: Artists and Subjects' group. Perhaps someone there could help us please?

This is a link to the 'Joan [Sanderson] Johnson, [of] Bloemfontein' picture in the ILN of 1 July 1899 (i.e her sketch as translated by A. Forestier): not sure if it will work as a subscription site but the image format is also one that (though copiable) will not link as an attachment. I can try a screenshot later if necessary unless someone else would like to try.

Marcie Doran,

Thank you. That works if we use the tiny arrow above the two images on page 12 and go to page 13.

Marcie Doran,

Pieter, I would mention that at least some of Robert Junr’s family members experienced great poverty after his father's death. His mother and his brothers Charles and William passed away at the Craiglockhart Poorhouse (in Edinburgh), the Barnhill Poorhouse (in Glasgow), and the Craigleith Poorhouse (in Edinburgh), respectively.


His siblings were: Ann (b. 1832), Pringle (1834–18 November 1834), Charles (a wood carver)(1838–20 January 1906), Pringle (1840–27 November 1843), William (a gilder and carver)(1843–6 July 1909), Margaret (b. 1846) and Caroline (1851–27 February 1883).


A friend of Joan's great-grandson who helps him to research his family contacted me today through Ancestry. He wrote:
"The link between Rachel (aka Joan) and William is the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. After William qualified at Edinburgh University as a medical doctor and he and Rachel married in 1882, they went out to India with the Church Missionary Society. William's elder brother became the famous missionary to India 'Pundit' Johnson. However life turned out tough with loss for them and India did not work out, so they returned to Scotland and then went out to South Africa where William pursued a respected medical career and was sought after as a Doctor."

Thanks Marcie.

Re: your second para, are you quite sure there were two 'Pringles'? It just looks a little odd

Re: Rachel/Joan and Dr Johnson, that explains the Simla reference: i.e. the couple were in India in the 1882-88 slot, before going to SA in '89. There is a British Library blog on social/cultural life in 19th-c. Simla which mentions that summer art exhibitions were held there, starting rather earlier than the 1880s. I am assuming that they continued long enough for her to have showed work in at least one.

Jacob is right to point out that this is not primarily a family-history forum and I think we've reached the outer limits of 'relational relevance' on that front, unless some descendant appears to tell us more specifically on Sanderson himself.

Jacob Simon,

On checking I find that Sanderson only exhibited genre paintings at the Glasgow Institute and the Royal Scottish Academy.

Marcie Doran,

Yes, I certainly agree with Jacob. However, It was lovely to get an enthusiastic response from someone on Ancestry. Perhaps a family portrait will show up.


Since Pringle Sanderson was the name of Robert Snr's father, I believe that Robert Snr wished to name a son after him.

Sorry: I misread the Pringle dates (i.e. one died before the other born)

Thanks Jacob: start/end dates at both would be useful, J&G only cover from 1880 and are not specific on individual venue end dates.

Osmund Bullock,

It’s disappointing that there were no portraits exhibited at the GI and RSA, but I think the case for Sanderson remains very strong.

To return to the question of the sitter, there are Edinburgh directory listings for three units of local Rifle Volunteers at this period, of which by far the largest was the Queen’s City of Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade. Founded like many others in 1859/60, its history and development is convoluted, but in 1877 it had no less than 25 constituent companies, many raised from particular professional groups in the city – in fact according to this very informative and well-referenced Wikipedia article ( it was actually the largest Rifle Volunteer Corps in the nation’s Volunteer Force.

The original (1859) uniform of the QERVB was quite different to that in our portrait, but apparently “... the cut of the tunic was later changed to match that of the Rifle Brigade, and the original low peaked cap was replaced first (1862) by a Shako with a black ball-tuft, next (1875) by a Busby with black plume ...”. And that is what we see in our portrait – see the posts above in late March 2021 by Andrew Cormack, Charles Griffin and Arthur McClench, one of which came with an 1876 watercolour of Rifle Brigade uniforms that I’m re-attaching alongside two more of 1880 & 1881.

Further confirmation that the Edinburgh Rifles uniform looked very much like the one in our portrait comes from a special issue of the Illustrated London News largely devoted to the Queen’s review of nearly 40,000 Scottish Volunteers at Edinburgh in an unrelenting deluge of rain on 25 August 1881. Two/three of the woodcuts depict the QERVB – see attached. Differences in the busby badge are not a worry, as each company apparently had a different one, and the variations in the busby shape itself probably stem from different ways of wearing it by each – it’s described as like a taller version of a Glengarry, and likely made of soft lambskin (later Astrakhan) that can be pushed in at the top (as in the portrait).

Since Sanderson seems to have been based in a small area of Edinburgh Old Town throughout his active years, it already seems likely to me that the sitter in our portrait is an officer in the Queen’s City of Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade...but there is more.

Osmund Bullock,

The detailed 1877-78 Directory listing for the QERVB (attached) reveals that their HQ and drill hall (which still stands) was at no. 41 Forrest Road, though in later rebuilding the main entrance moved round the corner to Forrest Hill. This means that Sanderson’s home (and at the time apparently studio), the newly-built no. 6, was just 30 seconds’ walk across the road from them. Furthermore the Captain of one of the Brigade’s companies (the 11th or ‘3rd Artisans’) was one Anstruther Macadam, a clothier with home and business premises at no. 45 George IV Bridge – and that is also less than a minute’s walk across the road from Sanderson’s previous address at no. 28. They certainly overlapped there while Macadam was captain of the company, as he was promoted to the rank in 1870 and the 1872-73 Directory (attached) shows them both in the street. Sanderson’s old and new addresses were/are in any case just a couple of minutes apart.

The portrait is certainly of an officer (though no rank insignia are visible); and while there is nothing else to suggest it is of Macadam, that seems to me a circumstantial possibility. And I do feel that the very close proximity of the artist and the Volunteers at exactly the right period adds considerably to the case for it being by Sanderson, and of an officer in the corps. I doubt that the relevant muster rolls have survived, but I would not be surprised to find that Sanderson himself was a member.

As well as the relevant directory pages, I’m attaching a contemporary OS map with the location of the various addresses marked.

Marcie Doran,

Osmund, that is remarkable research.


I contacted the owner of a Macadam family tree on Ancestry because he has an image of the Edinburgh draper Anstruther Macadam (1825–1924) on his tree. Unfortunately, that young man (“a draper’s apprentice”) does not resemble the unknown sitter we are discussing. I was very kindly given permission to post the image here.


I also wanted to share an image of a uniform that, while it wouldn't have been worn by men in the Edinburgh unit that Osmund is discussing, shows in greater detail the type of toggles and braiding that would have been on the uniform.

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Marcie Doran,

The owner of the Macadam family tree suggested that I post the attached image of Anstruther Macadam (with a beard) that he has just obtained from The Wick Society. Unfortunately, Mr. Macadam does not look like the sitter in this Art UK work.

I'd like to thank Dr Ian Beavis, Research Curator at The Amelia, for showing me this and the other paintings in the excellent new art store. There was nothing to help us on the back or the frame, but I have attached my photographs, including a detail of the monogram and date.

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Martin Hopkinson,

for the uniform compare The Royal Cheshire Light Infantry - Colonel Sir Thomas Grenville Cholmondeley [1818-83] by an unnow artist [ not this one] - in the Cheshire Military Museum and Major General Henry Edward Watson [born 1832] in the same museum

Is there anything more to do here? Elin Jones having identified Sanderson's monogram (attachment @ 23/02/2023 16:46) one either believes it genuine in this case or not, and there is no other reason against than the lack of other known portraits by him though he both advertised as a painter of them and did them of at least two of his daughters.

The Amelia - at Tunbridge Wells if (like me) you had no idea where such an oddly named place was - is therefore fortunate to have such a good example.

I'd be grateful for his full exhibiting date spans at the RSA and Glasgow Institute: so far the earliest cited at RSA is 1872 (where he showed 106 in all). I don't think we have yet had dates or total for Glasgow, though Johnson & Greutner give an overall last date as 1903.

Martin Hopkinson,

as one might expect there are numerous books on ScottIsh Light Infantry Regiments
The Highland Light Infantry is the most likely - but there are also the Royal Scottish Fusiliers, The Highland Borderers, The Cameronians [Perthshire Light Infantry] and the City of Glasgow Regiment
Lewis Balfour Oatts is the main authority. Arthur Neil Edmonston collected material on the dress of the 71 st Regiment
The most useful might be James B McKay and Douglas N Anderson's 1977 , The Highland Light Infantry: the uniforms of the regiment 1881 to 1914

Osmund Bullock,

Those two examples you gave, Martin, are fairly similar, but nothing like as close as the uniforms of the Rifle Brigade and those (Militia) Rifle Volunteers who copied it - including, as I've shown, the Queen's Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade. See my post of 02/03/2023 20:39 with illustrations, and the comments of several experts at the beginning of the discussion.

The most notable differences in your ones ( and are that they both lack a black leather diagonal cross strap with fine chain accoutrements (always associated with a rifles unit), and Maj-Genl Watson is holding a cap instead of a busby. In fact both portraits must be later than ours, as shoulder insignia of rank were only introduced in 1880. I'm surprised that you're looking at other regiments - there is no doubt whatever that this is an officer of a rifles unit, and almost certainly a volunteer militia one. The uniform bears no resemblance to any HLI one.

It's frustrating to see from Marion's third photo (despite a bit of reflection) that the regimental badge/plate on the cross strap is not painted in enough detail to enable identification. But though Macadam has been ruled out (he was always a long shot), I still think the case for it being an officer of the QERVB is a strong one, and deserves a mention. Perhaps something like, "An officer of a Rifle Volunteer unit, probably the Queen's Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade". At this period his rank would have been on the uniform collar, but that's obscured by the beard.

Osmund Bullock,

Re Sanderson's exhibiting date spans at RSA & GLI, I was going to look that all up at the NAL, but Jacob beat me to it with the news of there being no portraits exhibited at either venue. If he didn't note them, I still have another task outstanding at the NAL (re Napoleon's busts), so could manage that next week. It may also be worth checking (if Jacob didn't) if there is anything about Sanderson as a portraitist at the Heinz Library/Archive, particularly in the artists' boxes. Again I have other things to look up there, so can do that soon.

Osmund Bullock,

What I described as a 'black leather diagonal cross strap' is correctly called a pouch belt (the pouch is on the back). As far as I know it is unique to Rifles regiments, including the Gurkhas - see

Jacob Simon,

Nothing obvious on Sanderson in the NPG archive. I hope to be there on Tuesday morning and will check the exhibition date ranges.

Osmund Bullock,

I of course meant exhibiting date spans at RSA & GI (not GLI).

I was surprised, Jacob, that you apparently found the relevant books of exhibitors & works (Baile De Laperriere & Billcliffe) in the Heinz Library, as I'd checked their online catalogue and drawn a blank. But I now realise it only covers additions to the library since 1994, and both works were published (and doubtless acquired) just before then. Worth remembering - are they on open shelves?

Incidentally, if you can't make it there on Tuesday, or are pushed for time, I was planning a visit next week anyway to look up some auction catalogues.

Jacob Simon,

Osmund, on the open shelves on the left, between the windows, close to the library catalogue. I understand that the library is being retrospectively catalogued digitally, section by section, with priority being given to books NOT on open access. Very substantial progress appears to have been made.

Jacob Simon,

Sanderson exhibited at the RSA 1858-1903 and at the GI 1861-1901. All genre, it'd appear, except "A head - study" at the RSA in 1887.

Martin Hopkinson,

despite the monogram, I am still not convinced that this is a Scottish painting. Is there an up to date book on monograms coverIng European and American monograms of the 19th century ? Is a painting by Sanderson known in a style approaching this work?
Has the Scottish National Portrait Gallery been approached for a view on this?

Osmund Bullock,

Pieter, a couple of points re your biography. You say our portrait is of "an unnamed light cavalry officer", which is incorrect. It is currently listed on Art UK as a 'Light Infantry Officer', but in fact we now know beyond any doubt that it is an Officer of the Rifle Volunteers. By far the most likely unit in my view is the Queen’s City of Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade, who wore an identical uniform at this time, but there is insufficient evidence to prove it.

Re Sanderson's listings, you write that between 1871 & 1882 "most local directories list him under ‘Painters/portrait’ ". I should have made it clear that my pdf list (26/02/2023 03:49) only showed the years when some aspect of the listing changed; in fact he is listed as a portrait painter in *every one* of the 11 directories between 1871/72 and 1881/82 (and also as a landscape painter in the last two). In almost all those years (including 1877) he had an address at 6 Forrest Road, immediately opposite the drill hall of the Queen's Edinburgh Rifles.

Thanks Osmund; sorry for the slips/misunderstandings in something written now long ago (March 2023) and on ice with Art UK since then. I'll adjust and cc you the corrected original copy, on which there was some Art UK change (though not related to these matters).

Pieter, Osmund, Thank you for the biography and the revisions. The updated version is online now.

After today I will be on annual leave until Tuesday 28th May. I know there is a lot of work waiting thanks to everyone who has recommended updates and closures. I will respond to all as soon as possible.

Osmund Bullock,

I know Martin still had misgivings a year ago about our portrait being by Sanderson. I was looking at the works by him on MutualArt a little while ago, and saw several canvases that I think help strengthen the case even further (though for me the monogram/ signature comparison already settles it, supported by good circumstantial evidence).

The first pair of images attached show two portrait/genre canvases (one previously linked to by Pieter) that I think demonstrate he would have been more than capable of producing a decent conventional portrait when he wanted to. The old man is about 2/3 the height of ours, the lady slightly less – the first one, note, is signed lower left with the monogram alone.

The second pair is still more persuasive - not the pictures themselves, but how he signed them. The first one is a sketch of an artist (perhaps the artist) at work, and dated the same year (1877) as our work. The image is annoyingly low-res, and the lower-left corner (which I've enhanced) has been slightly cut off. Nevertheless it seems to show most of the same monogram, with ‘77’ to the right of it; I strongly suspect ‘18’ would be found to the left. The second, of a girl turning hay, dates from 1875 and is even better: there we have a clear and exact analogue of ’18 Я/S 75’, complete with flattened top & bottom to the ‘8’.

I’m also attaching a comparison of an enlarged and enhanced detail from the latter with the monogram/date from our portrait, which I think clinches the matter of authorship beyond any doubt.

I have received further revisions to the biography, which I will make soon (Pieter, Osmund – thank you, I will email you when they are done). I have contacted Ian Beavis at The Amelia about updating the record.

Thanks Marion. The biography updates (mainly the accurate numbers of Sanderson's exhibited works at the RSA and the Glasgow Institute) do not include that one at the former in 1888 (no.37) was a picture titled 'The volunteer'. I agree with Osmund - who pointed it out in supplying the figures - that while possibly this one, that seems unlikely given the 11-year delay between the 1877 painting date and the exhibiting one, but the collection may like to note the point.