189
189

THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

George Romney
PORTRAIT OF SIR GEORGE OSBORN (1742–1818)
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
189

THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

George Romney
PORTRAIT OF SIR GEORGE OSBORN (1742–1818)
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Day Sale

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London

George Romney
DALTON 1734 - 1802 KENDAL
PORTRAIT OF SIR GEORGE OSBORN (1742–1818)
inscribed, upper right: GENERAL SIR GEORGE OSBORN, Baronet.; and lower left: ROMNEY
oil on canvas, held in its original carved gilt wood Romney frame
127 x 101.5 cm.; 50 x 40 in.
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Provenance

Commissioned by the sitter and thence by direct descent to the present owner.

Exhibited

London, Grafton Galleries, Romney, 1900, no. 7;
London, Royal Academy, Old Masters, 1 January – 10 March 1906, no. 53;
Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, George Romney 1734–1802, 8 February – 21 April 2002, no. 90.

Literature

T.H. Ward and W. Roberts, Romney. A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Raisonné of his works, 2 vols, London 1904, vol. II, p. 115;
A. Chamberlain, George Romney, London 1910, p. 333;
A. Kidson, George Romney 1734–1802, exh. cat., London 2002, p. 158, cat. no. 90, reproduced in colour;
A. Kidson, George Romney. A complete catalogue of his paintings, 3 vols, New Haven and London 2015, vol. II, p. 441, cat. no. 977, reproduced in colour.

Catalogue Note

The sitter was the eldest son of Sir Danvers Osborn, 3rd Bt. and his wife, Lady Mary Montagu. Educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he succeeded to the baronetcy aged eleven, when his father died whilst serving as Governor of New York. The nephew of George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, President of the Board of Trade and Lord Privy Seal, and the cousin of Lord North, the Prime Minister, he was extremely well connected politically and served as a Groom of the Bedchamber to King George III from 1770 to 1812, as well as representing several constituencies in Parliament.

Osborn joined the army at the age of seventeen, in 1759, as an ensign in the 24th Foot but was swiftly promoted to Captain in the 16th Light Dragoons that same year. During the American Revolutionary War he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in the Scots Guards (3rd Foot Guards) and commanded the Grenadier Company of the Guards Brigade, serving with distinction in the Philadelphia Campaign, particularly at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, and the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Returning to England in 1777 he was promoted to Major-General and later General in the Army and served as Colonel of the 40th Regiment of Foot from 1786 until his death. He married twice; firstly Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of John Bannister, with whom he had a son, John, who succeeded him as 5th Baronet; and secondly Lady Heneage Finch, daughter of the 8th Earl of Winchilsea.

As Kidson has noted, Romney clearly took care with this commission and regarded it as an important one, no doubt keenly aware of his sitter’s influential political connections. Despite this the artist has made no attempt to flatter his subject, rather his treatment of Sir George – sensitive, etiolated and detached, painted with thin, liquid strokes of paint – demonstrates a level of insight and sensitivity that is rare in such portraits.

Old Masters Day Sale

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London