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Portrait of an Officer

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Portrait of an officer, small half-length, in the uniform of the Staffordshire Militia, painted in oil on copper by John Downman, ARA, circa 1790, within the original gilt gesso frame.

For a similar, perhaps associated work, see Christies, 'The Collection of the Late John Appleby: A Channel Island Treasure House' South Kensington 4th November 2010.

9 in x 7.75 in (6.5 in x 5.5 in)

John Downman was a Welsh artist born in Denbighshire (Nr.Ruabon) and dying in Wrexham. He studied briefly in Liverpool, then, from 1769, under Benjamin West, president of the Royal Academy. He spent the years 1773-5 in Italy and on his return set himself up as a portrait painter in Cambridge. By 1779, he had returned to London and was gaining a reputation as one of the most fashionable portraitists of the day. He was patronised by the royal family, as well as such figures as the Duchess of Devonshire and the Duchess of Richmond. His popularity was largely dependent on his ability to work quickly and in quantity. In order to do so he gave up portraits in oil and devised a technique of working in chalks that allowed him to reproduce up to ten or twelve versions of the same portrait. The National Portrait Gallery hold 34 of his works.

Item Code: 2405


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