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Sir George Chalmers
Portrait of Andrew Hunter, 8th of Abbotshill (1695-1770)

$5,897.73

About

Sir George Chalmers (c.1720-1791) Portrait of Andrew Hunter, 8th of Abbotshill (1695-1770) Signed and dated 1761 lower right Oil on canvas Painting Size 30 x 25 in Framed Size 35 x 30 in George Chalmers was born in Edinburgh about 1720. His grandfather, Charles Chalmers, was killed at the battle of Sherriffmuir in 1715, fighting on the side of the Pretender, and his father, Roderick, who died in 1746, was Ross Herald to the Lyon Court and a heraldic painter. George studied painting under his father and Alan Ramsay. His earliest works, in 1738 and 1739, were portraits engraved by himself. In 1751 he went to Rome, where he mixed with the expatriate Jacobites, and he went on from there to Florence and Minorca, where he painted the governor general, Baron William Blakeney. A mezzotint of this painting is in the National Portrait Gallery. About 1760 George returned to Edinburgh, where he assumed the baronetcy in 1764. The baronetcy had been awarded to James Chalmers, Laird of Cults, by Charles II in 1664, no doubt because of his Royalist support. Sir George Chalmers became the 4th holder of the title in 1764, on the death of a relative of the same name. I was unable to find the relationship of the two Georges, but Sir George’s father (Roderick) did not hold the title. After Sir George, a cousin, Robert Chalmers, held the title. He, too, was also a painter, who exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1790 to 1799. On Robert’s death in 1807 the title passed to his son, Charles William Chalmers, and the baronetcy ceased on his death in 1834 (Cokayne expressed considerable doubt as to the propriety of the title passing to non-linear descendents.) In June 1768, Sir George married Isabella, daughter of the painter John Alexander and sister of his painter friend Cosmo John Alexander (1724-1772), whom George had met in Italy. Sir George and Isabella had one child, also named Isabella, who became a nun. In 1778 they moved from Edinburgh to Hull and from there, in 1784, to London, where Sir George died in 1791. His estate amounted to £224, which was willed to his daughter. While in Italy, Sir George copied some of the great masters, including Caravaggio. One commentator said that ‘Pompeio and others, the first painters here, say that Mr Chalmers’ Leda will not only [bring] honour to himself but to Rome’. Subsequent critics, however, have not treated him so kindly. One wrote he ‘drew indifferently and coloured worse’; another described his work with faint praise – it was ‘…fair if not searching in character, and painted in an easy though somewhat thin manner’. He receives scant mention in the histories of Scottish art (in contrast to his unrelated namesake George Paul Chalmers), and he is not even mentioned in Grove’s History of Art. It took some time before Sir George became established as a portraitist. A letter written in 1774 to his friend and fellow Scot, Sir William Chambers, the architect of Somerset House, described his financial plight and sought advice on how best to sell the large collection of pictures which he had inherited from his brother-in-law, Cosmo Alexander, which included a Veronese Our Savior in the Pharisee’s House. Eventually Sir George became established, however, and he exhibited 24 works at the Royal Academy between 1775 and 1790. One of these was a Magdelan, of which it was said ‘It does not possess one principle of beauty’. Sir George’s best known painting is The Captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers William St Clair of Roslin (1771), which now hangs in the hall of the Royal Company of Archers in Edinburgh. Other works are in the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the City of Edinburgh Collection, and at Drum Castle and Fyvie Castle (National Trust of Scotland).

Details

  • Creator
    Sir George Chalmers (1720 - 1791, Scottish, British)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 35 in. (88.9 cm)Width: 30 in. (76.2 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Stoke, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU44639100352

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    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: Andover, United Kingdom
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Located in Stoke, United Kingdom
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