29th Aug, 2023 13:00

Scottish Pictures

Lot 21


oil on canvas

image size 123cm x 98cm, overall size 141cm x 115cm

Provenance: Private Collection Canada till November 2021; Christies, 7th October 1949 Lot 171 as “Raeburn, Portrait of Neil Gow” (Christies Stencil Verso).
Note 1: According to Raeburn expert David Mackie in his thesis on Henry Raeburn, the artist executed several versions of the painting of Neil Gow: 'The first listing of the versions Raeburn executed of this portrait was given by “Andrew, William Raeburn “Life of Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A” in 1886 (p. 124): One for the County Hall, Perth, which is now in Perth Art Gallery and Museum; one with the Duke of Atholl, which is still with that family; one with Lord Gray, (this may be the version which was recorded by the Photographic Survey as with the Honourable Mr Gray at Kinfauns, alternatively, it may be the version sold by the Earl of Moray at the Moray Sale, Sotheby's, 9 June 1932; to Hepburn); and one for William Maule, afterwards Lord Panmure, the present whereabouts of which is unknown. In addition to these versions Caw (Armstrong, p. 103) stated that one was in the collection of a Mrs Mackenzie; according to Caw, it was presented by the artist to the sitter; it was with the Erich Gallery, New York, in 1908; George G. Benjamin; his sale, American Art Association, 18 March 1913 (64); to Stuart Duncan; its present whereabouts is not known; a note in the Frick Art Reference Library (221 -10f) states that it had been cut down and that it was "repainted". Caw also listed a version in the collection of the Earl'
Note 2: Neil Gow was the most famous Scottish fiddler of the eighteenth century. Gow received patronage from the Duke of Atholl, and it is believed that this was the result of Gow's performance in a musical competition, judged by John McCraw, a blind musician, who awarded Gow first prize, and stated that he "would ken his bow hand amoung a hunder(d) players". This patronage meant Gow secured performances for balls and dance parties put on by the local nobility, which would go on to make him a renowned musician and composer. Raeburn’s portrait of the same dimensions, of Neil Gow is currently on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which is believed to be the autograph version of this work.


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Sold for £28,000
Estimated at £8,000 - £12,000

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