Attributed to Sir Francis Grant, PRA (1803 - 1878)

    Portrait of a Young Man, George Osbaldeston, Mid 19th Century
    Oil on canvas
    102 x 80-1/2 inches (259.1 x 204.5 cm)

    Francis Grant was born to a wealthy Scottish landowner in 1803 at Edinburgh. While his early life was spent enjoying his passion for fox hunting and collecting sporting paintings, after the death of his father he took up painting the outdoors scenes he had loved so much. In Portrait of a Young Man, George Osbaldeston, Grant portrays a young gentleman posing beside his favorite mount, a striking white horse while flanked by two hounds and a terrier, ready for the excitement of the next hunt. The subject of the portrait is believed to be George Osbaldeston, a famous sportsman of the period whose portrait, done on a much smaller scale, was completed by Grant after this sitting and now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery at London.

    Grant's detail work in this portrait is stunning, especially considering the impressive size of the work at 102 by 80 ½ inches. The waistcoat of the young man is a medium red, a color Grant continues into the man's breeches which are multi-colored and detailed. His youthful face and hands are athletic, yet subdued and refined, reminding the viewer that this is an aristocratic youth, a subject of some note who would have commissioned such a well-known artist to complete this impressive work.

    But Grant is in his element here, mixing the sporting scene with portraiture work for which he became famous, ultimately being knighted for his contributions to the art world soon after being honored by being named president of the Royal Academy in 1866. He was commissioned to complete portraits of the Queen, Sir Walter Scott, the author of Ivanhoe, Macaulay, Disraeli and many other famous subjects of his era. It is not surprising that many of his portraits can still be seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London, including the smaller portrait of this same sitter.

    In Portrait of a Young Man, Sir Francis Grant's work glows in his mastery of the equestrian element, the hunt, the hounds and even a terrier that waits patiently, staring at the hare in the foreground, the evidence of the day's hunt. Sir Francis uses his skills and experience from the field to capture the mood of the hounds, one lying down and passive, the other alert and attentive to his master, perhaps anxious and waiting for the next hunt. The young man's horse serves as a horizontal intersection to Sir Francis' focus on the vertical young man Osbaldeston whom he masterful conveys as confident in himself, his hand on one hip and the other on his steed. Osbaldeston was famous for his antics on horseback, having once trotted his noted American horse Tom Thumb over 100 miles in 10 hours. This beautiful picture is a fine example of Sir Francis Grant's portraiture and sporting artistic talents combined into one monumental work.

    Estimate: $50,000 - $100,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    13th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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