(n/a) Richard Collins (British, 1755-1831) An important portrait of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), as a child aged four, wearing pale green coat, double-breasted white waistcoat over frilled chemise and black hat decorated with ribbon bow
Lot 173Y
(n/a) Richard Collins
(British, 1755-1831)
An important portrait of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), as a child aged four, wearing pale green coat, double-breasted white waistcoat over frilled chemise and black hat decorated with ribbon bow
Sold for £9,600 (US$ 15,914) inc. premium
Lot Details
(n/a) Richard Collins (British, 1755-1831)
An important portrait of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), as a child aged four, wearing pale green coat, double-breasted white waistcoat over frilled chemise and black hat decorated with ribbon bow.
Signed on the obverse with initials and dated RC/ 1775, set in a rectangular leather travelling case in the form of a book, the interior with label inscribed Walter Scott, aged 4/ attr: R. Cosway R.A./ 1775/ Exhibited at the British Instn/ 1835/ Coll: Geo W** #482o5.
Oval, 40mm (1 9/16in) high

Footnotes

  • Sir Walter Scott, the great Scottish poet was born in Edinburgh. At the age of two he contracted polio, which left him lame in his right leg. In the hope of curing him of this disability he was sent to England to take the waters at Bath in the summer of 1775. He travelled there with his Aunt Janet (Jenny) and visited London en route. As Collins was a London based miniaturist, the present lot was presumably painted on this visit. As the present portrait was painted prior to his arrival in Bath, it pre-dates a miniature loosely attributed to either Abraham or Joseph Daniel commonly known as the 'Bath Miniature', which shows him at around the age of five, see Scottish National Portrait Gallery, no. PGL41. Consequently, as the present lot would appear to be the earliest dated portrait of Sir Walter Scott, it is an important addition to the iconography of the great poet.

    Walter Scott, initially worked as an advocate but his main ambition was to become a writer. In 1797 he published a translation of Burger's The Wild Huntsmen. This was followed by the three volume, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802-1803) and The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805). After becoming a partner in the printing business, James Ballantyne & Co, Scott wrote and published The Lay of the Lake (1810), Rokeby (1813), The Bridal of Triermain (1813), The Lord of the Isles (1815) and Harold the Dauntless (1817). Scott also contributed to the Edinburgh Review but he disapproved of its support for the Whigs and in 1809 helped establish the Tory journal, 'The Quarterly Review'.

    In 1813 Scott refused the offer of poet laureate and recommended Robert Southey for the post. Scott now turned from poetry to the novel. Over the next ten years he anonymously published several novels including Waverly (1814), Guy Mannering (1815), The Antiquary (1816), Rob Roy (1817), The Heart of Midlothian (1818), Inanhoe (1819), Kenilworth (1821) and Redgauntlet (1824). Scott, who had established the form of the historical novel, was an extremely popular writer. However, James Ballantyne & Co went bankrupt in 1826 and Scott found himself liable for a debt of £114,000. Scott worked tirelessly to pay off his creditors and over the next few years wrote Woodstock (1826), The Fair Maid of Perth (1828), Anne of Geierstein (1829) and Count Robert of Paris (1831).
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