CAMPBELL, THOMAS (1777-1844, Scottish poet)
Lot 39
CAMPBELL, THOMAS (1777-1844, Scottish poet)
£500 - 800
US$ 840 - 1,300
Lot Details
CAMPBELL, THOMAS (1777-1844, Scottish poet)
PORTRAIT BY MESSRS BLOMFIELD OF HASTINGS AFTER A MINIATURE, artist unknown, large vintage photograph printed on porcelain with over-painting in colours on the eyes, hair, cravat and jacket, head and shoulders, 'enlarged from a miniature taken from life when he published the "Pleasures of Hope" in 1799' [according to an earlier catalogue description], the portrait signed lower right 'J Blom[field] Hastings', framed and glazed, elaborate gilt mount and inner frame, printed label on outer frame, size of image 14 x 11½ inches (35.5 x 29 cm) overall size 23 x 20 inches (58.5 x 51 cm) [original c. 1798; reproduction ?c.1870]

TOGETHER WITH AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ('T. Campbell'), to John [possibly John Gibson Lockhart (1794-1854), who became Sir Walter Scott's son-in-law in April 1820], stating that he was prevented from calling on Scott ('the great worthy') that morning by the pain of his rheumatism, referring to Scott's past behaviour in contrast to another he does not name [perhaps referring to Scott's highjacking of Campbell's planned series of the poets], informing him that Moncrieff may have been nominated for the [position of Rector of Glasgow University], declaring himself easy about the outcome for 'it will be no dishonour to be defeated by Scott - his name is an apology for any Man's failure,' and explaining that the only direction that he has given to his own friends in Glasgow was that they should abstain from any language detrimental to Sir Walter; he also asks him to let Scott know of his regret in not shaking his hand in London, 2 pages, octavo, incorrectly dated 28 March 1820 in pencil in another hand, watermark date 1825, [1826]


  • This unusual portrait is said to have been formerly in the possession of a descendant of the poet, having previously remained in the family. The earliest portrait of Campbell recorded by Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, 1985, is dated c. 1808. Cosway did an unfinished miniature and Raeburn a finished one in c.1810.

    According to their printed label on the back of the frame the Blomfield business of 'Photographic Artists' was set up at Trinity House, 44 Robertson Street, in Hastings in 1857. By the 1871 census William Knibb Blomfield (1842-1878) was in the business and by 1867 was joined by his brother John Henry (b. 1850). In about 1870 John Henry started his own business and worked for the Prince of Wales and members of the nobility.

    Campbell in fact defeated Scott at the election discussed in his letter, and became the Rector of Glasgow University in 1826. He took the duties of his office with unprecedented seriousness, examining the management of the university and protecting the interests of the students. Such was his popularity that he was re-elected for two further years, to the considerable annoyance of the authorities, who considered his third re-election to be illegal.
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