Skip to main content
  • Want more images or videos?
    Request additional images or videos from the seller
1 of 8

John Gordon Watson
Portrait of a Lady - Old Master Scottish art oil painting by RSA president

circa 1830

$4,549.22

About

A fine Old Master British portrait oil painting which dates to circa 1830 and depicts a girl. Painted by the president of the Royal Scottish Academy, Sir John Watson Gordon, it is a very beautifully executed head and shoulders study of a Lady. The painting is framed in a good quality and evenly distressed 18th century gilt frame. Provenance. Christie’s London. Aitken Dott - Edinburgh. Good early 19th century frame. 11 by 11 inches. Sir John Watson Gordon RA PRSA (1788-1864) was a Scottish portrait painter and a president of the Royal Scottish Academy He was born John Watson in Edinburgh, the eldest son of Captain Watson, R.N., a cadet of the family of Watson of Overmains, in the county of Berwick. He was educated specially with a view to joining the Royal Engineers. He entered as a student in the government school of design, under the management of the Board of Manufactures. he showed a natural aptitude for art, and his father was persuaded to allow him to adopt it as his profession. Captain Watson was himself a skilful draughtsman, and his brother George Watson, afterwards president of the Royal Scottish Academy, was a highly respected portrait painter, second only to Sir Henry Raeburn, who was also a friend of the family. In 1808 John exhibited a picture "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" at the Lyceum in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh – the first public exhibition of paintings in that city – and continued for some years to exhibit fancy subjects; but, although freely and sweetly painted, they were altogether without the force and character which stamped his portrait pictures as the works of a master. After the death of Sir Henry Raeburn in 1823, he succeeded to much of his practice. He assumed in 1826 the name of Gordon. One of the earliest of his famous sitters was Sir Walter Scott, who sat for a first portrait in 1820. Then came JG Lockhart in 1821; Professor Wilson, 1822 and 1850, two portraits; Sir Archibald Alison, 1839 and Dr Chalmers, 1844; a little later De Quincey, and Sir David Brewster, 1864. Among his most important works may be mentioned the 1st Marquess of Dalhousie; Sir Alexander Hope (1835); Lord President Hope and Dr Chalmers. These, unlike his later works, are generally rich in colour. The full length portrait of Dr Alexander Brunton (1844) and Dr Lee, the principal of the university (1846), mark a modification of his style, which ultimately resolved itself into extreme simplicity, both of colour and treatment. During the last twenty years of his life he painted many distinguished Englishmen who came to Edinburgh to sit for him. It is significant that David Cox, the landscape painter, on being presented with his portrait, subscribed for by many friends, chose to go to Edinburgh to have it executed by Watson Gordon, although he neither knew the painter personally nor had ever before visited the country. Among the portraits painted during this period, in what may be termed his third style, are De Quincey; General Sir Thomas Macdougall Brisbane; the Prince of Wales, Lord Macaulay, Sir M. Packington, Lord Murray, Lord Cockburn, Lord Rutherfurd and Sir John Shaw-Lefevre. These latter pictures are mostly clear and grey, sometimes showing little or no positive colour, the flesh itself being very grey, and the handling extremely masterly, though never obtruding its cleverness. He was very successful in rendering acute observant character. A good example of his last style, showing pearly flesh-painting freely handled, yet highly finished, is his head of Sir John Shaw-Lefevre. Gordon was one of the earlier members of the Royal Scottish Academy and was elected its president in 1850. He was at the same time appointed limner for Scotland to the queen, and received the honour of knighthood. Since 1841 he had been an associate of the Royal Academy, and in 1851 he was elected a royal academician. He is buried in the eastern extension of Canongate Kirkyard on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Details

  • Creator
    John Gordon Watson (1788 - 1864, Scottish)
  • Creation Year
    circa 1830
  • Dimensions
    Height: 8 in. (20.32 cm)Width: 7 in. (17.78 cm)Depth: 2 in. (5.08 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU85317383622

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $284.33 Standard Parcel Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 6-8 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: London, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 14 days of delivery.

1stDibs Buyer Protection Guaranteed
If your item arrives not as described, we’ll work with you and the seller to make it right. Learn more
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in London, United Kingdom
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
1stDibs seller since 2018
252 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
More From This Seller

You May Also Like

Portrait of a Lady in a Silver Dress and Pink Wrap, Antique Oil Painting
Located in London, GB
This graceful portrait depicts a young lady elegantly dressed in a shimmering blue silk dress with gold edging, sleeves that have been gathered and tied in place with a large jewelle...
Category

17th Century Old Masters Portrait Paintings

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress c.1710 Antique Oil Painting; Michael Dahl
By (Circle of) Michael Dahl
Located in London, GB
The portrait genre was valued particularly highly in English society. Neither landscapes nor allegorical pictures were ever priced so highly at exhibitions and in the trade as depict...
Category

Early 18th Century Old Masters Portrait Paintings

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Portrait of a Lady, Large Scale, Fine Carved Period Frame
Located in London, GB
Titan Fine Art are pleased to present this lavish large-scale portrait, painted circa 1675, depicting a beautiful woman seated beside a flowering jardinière and a swag curtain. It c...
Category

17th Century Old Masters Portrait Paintings

Materials

Oil, Canvas

Portrait oil painting of a gentleman in a red robe
Located in Moreton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Circle of John Vanderbank British, (1694-1739) Portrait of a Gentleman Oil on canvas Image size: 29.5 inches x 24.5 inches Size including frame: 36.5 inches x 31.5 inches A well-ex...
Category

18th Century Old Masters Portrait Paintings

Materials

Canvas, Oil

18th C. Portrait of the 4th Earl of Sandwich a View of Constantinople Beyond
Located in London, GB
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (13 November 1718 – 30 April 1792) Attributed to George Knapton (1698-1778) Dressed in the Turkish manner, standing full-length above the Bospho...
Category

18th Century Old Masters Figurative Paintings

Materials

Oil

18th Century Oil Painting Portrait of Provost John Pitcairn of Dundee
By Sir Henry Raeburn
Located in London, GB
The pendant to the present portrait showing John Pitcairn's wife Jean, née Robertson, is in the Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino. Both works are datable to the 1790s. Pitcairn, who...
Category

18th Century Old Masters Figurative Paintings

Materials

Oil

17th Century Oil Painting Portrait of a Young English Boy
By Gerard Soest
Located in London, GB
Gerard SOEST (1600 - 1681) Portrait of a Young Boy oil on canvas 35.5 x 30.5 inches inc. frame Gerard Soest (circa 1600 – 11 February 1681), also known as Gerald Soest, was a portra...
Category

17th Century Old Masters Portrait Paintings

Materials

Oil

18th Century Oil Painting Portrait of Phillip, 6th Viscount Wenman.
By Nathaniel Dance-Holland
Located in London, GB
Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland (1750-1811) was an English portrait painter and one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768. Justly celebrated in his lifetime he won several...
Category

Late 18th Century Old Masters Portrait Paintings

Materials

Oil

The 1stDibs Promise

Learn More

Expertly Vetted Sellers

Confidence at Checkout

Price-Match Guarantee

Exceptional Support

Buyer Protection

Insured Global Delivery