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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Portrait of R. Parsons, officer of the Derbyshire Light Cavalry, 1800. Studio or Circle of Sir Thomas Lawrence."
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
The sitter wears a cavalry officer's uniform, and with the initials on the the shoulder belt rather than a number, it indicates that this is an irregular cavalry unit that is yeoman or possibly fencible cavalry. The 'D' stands for a county and 'LC' for Light Cavalry. The only yeomanry cavalry regiment with dark blue uniform, red facings and gold lace which was also from a county beginning with 'D' was the Derbyshire Cavalry. This unit was first formed in 1794 for home defence, as the threat of a French invasion was very real.
The sitter looks out at us in a calm manner, confident in his uniform; in the background are stormy skies and thunderous clouds, surely a reference to the troubled and dangerous times as Bonaparte's armies swept across Europe.
SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE P.R.A. (1769-1830) was a child prodigy and the most remarkable British portrait painter of his day.
He was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper. At the age of ten, having moved to Bath, he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits. At eighteen he went to London and soon established his reputation as a portrait painter in oils, receiving his first royal commission, a portrait of Queen Charlotte, in 1790. He stayed at the top of his profession until his death, aged 60, in 1830.
Self-taught, he was a brilliant draughtsman and known for his gift of capturing a likeness, as well as his virtuoso handling of paint. He became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, a full member in 1794, and president in 1820. In 1810 he acquired the patronage of the Prince Regent, was sent abroad to paint portraits of allied leaders for the Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, and is particularly remembered as the Romantic portraitist of the Regency. Lawrence's love affairs were not happy (his tortuous relationships with Sally and Maria Siddons became the subject of several books) and, in spite of his success, he spent most of life deep in debt. He never married. At his death, Lawrence was the most fashionable portrait painter in Europe.
*A Cambridgeshire Country House collection.
Verso: inscribed on the canvas in copperplate script 'Mr. R. Parsons. 1800.'
Also an old label from the London dealer The Parker Galleries.
(A lengthy letter from the National Army Museum accompanies this portrait.)
|External Height||33.00 inch||(83.82 cm)|
|External Width||28.50 inch||(72.39 cm)|