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    Description

    SIR HENRY RAEBURN, R.A., P.R.S.A. (British 1756 - 1823)
    Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. William Mackenzie (pair), circa 1810 - 1815
    Oil on canvas
    30 x 25 inches (each)

    PROVENANCE:
    William Mackenzie, Edinburgh;
    Acquired by descent to Miss E. G. Mackenzie, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa;
    Newhouse Galleries, New York, NY;
    Mr. and Mrs. F. Howard Walsh, Fort Worth, Texas, 1966;
    Walsh Family Art Trust

    EXHIBITED:
    Durban Art Gallery, Natal, South Africa, "Treasures from Natal Homes", November 1959.

    Henry Raeburn was the leading portraitist in Edinburgh from the 1790s until his death in 1823. As a major cultural and intellectual center during the Enlightenment, the capital of Scotland was home to one of Europe's greatest universities and thus to a number of scholars and writers, many of whom commissioned portraits from Raeburn. One such patron was the novelist Henry Mackenzie (1745-1831), whose portrait Raeburn painted around 1810 (now in the National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 455). This sitter bears a resemblance to the present William Mackenzie, particularly in the eyes and eyebrow ridge, and may perhaps be identified as his father. William Mackenzie may likewise be identified as the nineteenth century Scottish publisher based in Edinburgh. Without specific documentation, this identification remains speculative.

    Mature compositions such as the present portraits reveal the classicizing influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, whom Raeburn had met in London in 1784 before traveling in Italy for two years. Yet, in the midst of such influences, the Scottish painter forged his own unique style characterized most prominently by free, virtuoso brushwork. Passages such as William's white collar and the bodice of his wife's white gown are freely described with a fluidity of brushstroke that underscores the artist's skill. The strong light focuses attention on the faces of both sitters, while Raeburn's loose description of Mrs. Mackenzie's red cloak adds a richness of color and texture to the pair of portraits.



    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2006
    9th-10th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,195

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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