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    Sir Henry Raeburn (British, 1756-1823)
    Mrs. Graham Young and child, circa 1810
    Oil on canvas
    40-3/4 x 37-1/2 inches (103.5 x 95.3 cm)
    Written in chalk on stretcher: Rosenheim; in chalk on reverse of lined canvas: 35; numbered twice on stretcher: 12
    Small handwritten label verso: 11363 / Raeburn / Mrs. Graham
    Old handwritten label on stretcher: Mrs. Graham Young of West Calder N.B. by Sir Henry Raeburn R.A.


    Galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, as of 1899;
    M.H. Rosenheim, as of 1911 (1);
    Newhouse Galleries, New York, as of 1961 (label on backing board, inv. no. 15049) (2);
    Bertram Maurice Newhouse (1883-1982);
    Presented by him in 1969 to the present owner.

    Illustrated Catalogue of the Fifth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English Schools, Being a Portion of the Sedelmeyer Gallery..., Paris, 1899, p. 110, no. 91. illustrated;
    J. Greig, Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A. His Life and Works, with a Catalogue of His Pictures, London, 1911, p. 63.

    On stylistic grounds, the present work may be dated to Raeburn's later years when he began to essay more elaborate, dramatic compositions in keeping with his interest in the current mode of London-based portraiture. (In 1810 he considered moving to the British capital, but then changed his mind and returned to his base in Edinburgh.) Here, for example, the child, in a muslin dress, reaches up with her right hand at a rose proffered by Mrs. Young, all of which forms a pyramidal composition in the upper half of the painting field. This touching gesture appears in another painting by Raeburn, John Tait and His Grandson (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), which began c. 1793 as a portrait of Tait alone, but was supplemented after his death by the figure of a grandson (gazing up at Tait's watch) in about 1800. As with that painting, the child's costume "spreads out in an amorphous way in order to fill the canvas." Moreover, the sitters' heads in both works "are strongly lit (not from the glowing sky but from studio top-lighting), a feature characteristic of Raeburn's style by 1800....," (J. Hayes, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Systematic Catalogue: British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries, Cambridge, 1992, p. 200).

    According to a handwritten inscription on an old label affixed to the painting's stretcher, the woman sitter is "Mrs. Graham Young of West Calder N.B.," a town some twenty miles southwest of Edinburgh. No further information is known about Mrs. Young, who may have been related by marriage to Raeburn's lawyer, in his later years, Arthur Young, but this remains a hypothesis only.

    A notable feature of this painting is the prominence given to Mrs. Young's supporting left hand, on which is a brilliantly painted, elaborate jeweled ring. That feature recalls Raeburn's early apprenticeship with an Edinburgh jeweler, James Gilliland, which had repercussions on his later work. As one student of the artist, Duncan Thomson, writes: "While Raeburn's portraits at the height of his career are marked by a consummate breadth of handling, they often contain passages of finely wrought detail that are easy to link to his earliest training." ( ; entry on Sir Henry Raeburn)

    The canvas support, a prepared twill weave, is a consistent one throughout Raeburn's career (see essay by J. Dick, "Raeburn's Methods and Material," in exh. cat., Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn, 1756-1823 [cat. by D. Thompson],1997, pp. 41-42).

    The first record of this work dates from 1899, when it was owned by the prominent Vienna-born, Paris- and London-based art dealer, Charles Sedelmeyer (1837-1925). Over several decades the Sedelmeyer Gallery owned a very large stock, which included forty paintings by Sir Henry Raeburn (on that subject, see O. Meslay, "Raeburn and France," in Henry Raeburn: Context, Reception and Reputation [ed. by V. Coltman and S. Lloyd], Edinburgh, 2012, pp. 341-343).

    (1) For the previous collection history, see J. Greig, 1911, cited above. A chalk inscription "Rosenheim" appears on the painting's stretcher.
    (2) See advertisement in Antiques, LXXX, September 1961, p. 286. The Newhouse Gallery inventory number is inscribed on a label on the painting's backing.

    Condition Report*: Glue lined canvas on original stretchers. UV examination reveals the presence of an old, heavy varnish layer (which predates the painting's acquistion by the present owner in 1969) that presents a clear reading of any conservation. The varnish has discolored and is dirty; the painting would benefit from a cleaning and revarnishing, restoring the significant range of whites in the composition to their original brilliance. Paint film is stable on the original canvas which has a twill weave. There are a few superficial scratches or abrasions in the varnish layer. The craquelure is fine and consistent with age. A small spot of paint loss is present at the midpoint of the far right edge. Under normal lighting conditions there is a subtle T-shaped line measuring 7 inches and 3 inches just above the woman's knee and into the baby's chemise. This appears to be an old line of inpaint perhaps performed to address a scratch. The canvas is a little slack on the stretcher. There is a faint horizontal stretcher bar mark. The Museum performed no conservation on the painting during its period of ownership.
    *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
    May, 2017
    24th Wednesday
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