Appointed Portrait Painter to the Prince of Wales in Scotland in 1785, David Martin was the leading Scottish portrait painter of his generation. The artist is best known in the United States for his portrait of Benjamin Franklin, which is in the White House collection, Washington, D.C. The sitters depicted in this double portrait were the sons of the British diplomat Edward Finch-Hatton. George (1747-1823), later of Eastwell Park, Kent, is shown seated, reading an ancient charter or medieval manuscript. (His eldest son succeeded to the Earldom of Winchelsea and Nottingham, from which the present painting descends). George's younger brother, Edward (1755-1841), shown standing, was a barrister-at-law and Bencher of the Inner Temple, London. Both men are wearing Van Dyck costume, thereby indicating their antiquarian enthusiasm as collectors.
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