A Portrait miniature of Major O'Connor  wearing scarlet uniform with buff coloured facings
A Portrait miniature of Major O'Connor  wearing scarlet uniform with buff coloured facings
A Portrait miniature of Major O'Connor  wearing scarlet uniform with buff coloured facings

WALTER ROBERTSON (died 1801)

A Portrait miniature of Major O'Connor wearing scarlet uniform with buff coloured facings

c. 1775 Ireland

Offered by Ellison Fine Art

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his powdered hair en queue, black stock and silver epaulettes
inscribed Major O'Connor/ 46th Regiment/ Killed at Quebec, 1759, gilt-metal frame with glazed reverse

This miniature was previously thought to be the work of Ozias Humphry (1741-181) however, the slate grey colouring in the background together with the tight linear treatment of the powdered wig and blue shading on the face are more akin to the early works of Walter Robertson when he was working In Ireland. He exhibited "designs and likenesses in hair" and miniatures at the Society of Artists in Dublin from 1769 to 1775, and in 1777. In 1784 Robertson went to London where he became acquainted with Gilbert Stuart and later travelled with him to America.

The sitter is shown wearing the uniform of the 16th Foot - the red stripes on the epaulette are very distinctive and appear in identical from in several period images of 16th Foot officers. The 16th Foot had yellow facings which appear to have faded in this miniature

The 16th Foot served in America being sent to Pensacola, Florida in 1767 and later stationed in various locations in the South, including South Carolina, Georgia, seeing action at several points during the Revolution. A small detachment was also sent to New York in 1776. The regiment returned to England in 1782, two years after Major Connor retired.

There are three Connor's or O'Connors (used interchangeably) among the commissioned officers to have served in the 16th Foot, prior to 1793. The fact that these three all served in the 16th Foots suggests that they were probably related. The only Connor or O'Connor to serve in the 46th Foot down through 1793 was Henry Eglinton Connor - who is presumably the sitter in the present miniature.

Hery Eglinton Connor was an Ensign in the 46th Foot, 27 November 1752; moved to Lieutenant, new raising 61st/59th Foot, 31 December 1755; Captain Lieutenant, 59th Foot, 7 December 1759; Exchanged to Captain. Went onto Half pay when the regiment was disbanded, 21 April 1764; from Half Pay as Captain, 16th Foot, 15 August, 1775; Brevet Major, 29th August, 1777; He retired 26 February 1780. (His promotion to Captaincy was announced in the London Gazette, 2 September 1777).

The label on the reverse suggests he was killed in Quebec in 1759 which seems to be completely erroneous.

We are grateful to Mr. Christopher Bryant in his help in cataloguing this portrait.
Minor wear to paint under the epaulette on the right hand side and by 5 o'clock. Some loss of paint at 11 o'clock at the border
The Albion Collection, Bonhams, 22 April, 2004
Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, 1999
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 2000-2003

Comerford Collection at the Irish Architectural Archives in Dublin, in 2009.
Ann Sumner and Richard Walker, Secret Passion to Noble Fashion, The world of the Portrait Miniature, , 1999, no. 20
The Comerford Collection: Portrait Miniatures (Dublin, privately published, 2009), pp 7, 28 (# 86).
Dimensions
Height 4.20 cm (1.65 inches)
Stock Code
4577
Medium
watercolour on ivory
Ellison Fine Art

Ellison Fine Art
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