Scottish National Portrait Gallery bags a beautiful Raeburn portrait worth £210,000

By Richard Moss | 03 December 2014

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has bagged itself a beauty by Raeburn thanks to the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme

a full length portrait of a lady in a Georgian style silk dress
Lady Montgomery, née Helen Graham by Sir Henry Raeburn © SNPG
When eminent Scottish portraitist Sir Henry Raeburn painted Lady Helen Montgomery in 1816, he created a portrait that was quintessentially Georgian yet somehow timeless.

As a portrait of a lady of wealth and influence, (Lady Montgomery was a Scottish heiress recently betrothed to Sir James Montgomery) it ranks among the finest of any era. And with the subject’s faint smile and air of contentment set before a dramatic skyscape it is arguably one of Raeburn’s best.

Now this majestic full-length portrait can be seen by the public, courtesy of the Montgomery estate, the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme and a tax deal worth over £210,000 which has delivered it to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Describing the nearly life-sized painting as a “splendid addition” to the collection, gallery Director Christopher Baker hailed Raeburn’s “remarkable ability to create an intimate and sensitive portrait within a grand format” and pointed out his “slick technical skills” and “great mastery”.

Raeburn’s handling of Lady Montgomery’s features and clothes are certainly vivid yet highly subtle, and the fashions of the day - the simple, empire-line dress and the red bonnet casually hanging from the subject's hand - will also appeal to fans of the Georgian era.

The daughter of the MP and aristocratic businessman Thomas Graham of Kinross House, Lady Montgomery married Sir James Montgomery in 1816. Her new husband had achieved both local and national prominence, first as an MP and then as Lord Advocate and rebuilt Stobo Castle between 1805 and 1811.

Their marriage brought together two of Scotland’s most influential families, and as Portrait Painter to King George IV in Scotland, Raeburn was the ideal man to celebrate the union.

Raeburn is a towering figure in Scottish portraiture. His signature pieces are a portrait of Sir Walter Scott and the Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch (better known as The Skating Minister) both of which are held by National Galleries Scotland.

This imposing yet sensitively modeled portrait from Scotland’s Georgian highpoint may yet become another.

What do you think?

You might also like.

Rare Constable portrait acquired by the Scottish National Gallery from Lucien Freud's estate

Scottish National Portrait Gallery reveals the painting that inspired Wilfred Owen

Her Majesty The Queen shown as Sovereign of the Thistle in striking Scottish portrait

Latest comment: >Make a comment
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
  • Back to top
  • | Print this article
  • | Email this article
  • | Bookmark and Share
    Back to article
    Your comment:
    DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted at www.culture24.org.uk are the opinion of the comment writer, not Culture24. Culture24 reserves the right to withdraw or withhold from publication any comments that are deemed to be hearsay or potentially libellous, or make false or unsubstantiated allegations or are deemed to be spam or unrelated to the article at which they are posted.
    image

    Events

    • 1 mile
    • 2 miles
    • 3 miles
    • 4 miles
    • 5 miles
    • 10 miles
    • 20 miles
    • 50 miles
    • Any time
    • Today
    • This week
    • This month
    • This year

    advertisement