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Lieutenant-Colonel Hay MacDowell

ca. 1795
93 x 58 in. (236.2 x 147.3 cm)

Sir Henry Raeburn
Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1756 – 1823, Edinburgh, Scotland)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: George Eastman Collection of the University of Rochester
Accession Number: 1968.102
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view
Collection: George Eastman Collection

Raeburn may have made this painting to commemorate General Hay MacDowell’s 1795 departure from the 57th Regiment of Foot, with which he had served for five years. He would go on to be named commander of the British forces in Madras, India.
The low perspective of the life-sized canvas elevates MacDowell to the status of a hero, while the vivid colors provide animation to an otherwise-static pose. The use of these simple devices to create a monumental effect helps to explain why Raeburn, who had no formal training as an artist, was the preeminent portraitist in Scotland in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

[Gallery label text, 2008]

By descent through the sitter's family; their sale, Christie's, London, December 12, 1919, lot 60; purchased at that sale by Messrs. Sulley & Co., London (dealers); Lewis & Simmons, London (dealers); purchased from them by George Eastman (1854-1932), Rochester, NY; his bequest to the University of Rochester, 1932; transferred to the Gallery in 1968

Related Objects
See print made after this painting by Henry Macbeth-Raeburn, 1988.21

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