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Circle of Thomas Heaphy - A Regency Portrait of a British Light Cavalry Officer
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Circle of Thomas Heaphy - A Regency Portrait of a British Light Cavalry Officer

Circa 1810

Measurements: Overall: 61.5cm (24.25in) x 46cm (18.25in)



Watercolour and pencil on paper. Inscribed lower left ‘... Robinson’. Framed and glazed. Image size: 48cm (19in) x 32cm (12.5in). Framed and glazed.

The subject of the present full length portrait wears items of uniform adopted by British light dragoon and hussar officers in the early 19th century, viz Hessian boots, barrel belt and mameluke sword. The long coat and feathered bicorne are synonymous with senior officers’ and suggest a form of idiosyncratic undress uniform, perhaps indicative of the heat of the Peninsula or southern India. Interestingly it is in this same garb and not dissimilar pose that Thomas Heaphy (1775-1835) painted several watercolours of Wellington between 1813 and 1816 (see Wellesley, C. (2014) ‘Wellington Portrayed’, p. 169). The inscription, lower left, ‘...Robinson’ might be allude to the Regency politician the Hon. Frederick Robinson (1782-1856) (later 1st Viscount Goderich and 1st Earl of Ripon) who was briefly Whig Prime Minister in 1827, prior to Wellington’s Tory premiership of 1828-30, but against the background of the Napoleonic Wars, performed part-time military service at home as Captain (1803), ultimately Major (1814–17) in the Northern Regiment of West Riding Yeomanry. The present watercolour certainly bears a reasonable facial likeness to Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait Goderich.