William Grimaldi (British, 1751-1830) A portrait of Vice-Admiral Sir William Fairfax, Bt (1739-1813), wearing dark blue coat with gold epaulettes, white waistcoat and lace cravat, black stock, his hair powdered
Lot 68Y
William Grimaldi
(British, 1751-1830)
A portrait of Vice-Admiral Sir William Fairfax, Bt (1739-1813), wearing dark blue coat with gold epaulettes, white waistcoat and lace cravat, black stock, his hair powdered
Sold for £1,875 (US$ 2,942) inc. premium

Lot Details
William Grimaldi (British, 1751-1830)
A portrait of Vice-Admiral Sir William Fairfax, Bt (1739-1813), wearing dark blue coat with gold epaulettes, white waistcoat and lace cravat, black stock, his hair powdered.
Signed and dated to the reverse Painted by W.Grimaldi/ Miniature and Enamel/ Painter to their Royal/ Highnesses the Duke/ and Duchess/ of York/ No 2 Abermarle/ Street, London/ 1798, gold frame.
Oval, 76mm (3in) high
Exhibited: Somerset House, 1798 (no.820).

Footnotes

  • William was born in Bagshot, the eldest son of Joseph Fairfax of the Horse Guards and Mary Anne. William married firstly Hannah Spears (d.1770) in 1767, and secondly in 1772, Janet Margaret Charters. William was the father of eight children, including one daughter, Jean, from his shortlived first marriage. A younger daughter, Mary Somerville (1780-1872), became a noteworthy figure in the fields of mathematics and physics during the mid-19th century, her works 'The Mechanism of the Heavens' and 'Molecular and Microscopic Science' receiving great critical acclaim.

    William enjoyed a lengthy career in the Royal Navy, which began in 1750 aboard the 'Centurion' under Admiral First Lord Augustus Keppel (1725-1786), the celebrated sitter of six portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds. William served in North America, where he was held captive for the duration of the American War of Independence (1775-1783), the West Indies and the Mediterranean. It was during William's commission in the North Sea Fleet that he was appointed flag-captain to Admiral Adam Duncan (1731-1804) and weathered the storm of the Spithead and Nore naval mutinies. William, as Captain of the 'Venerable', appears to have had a strong relationship with Duncan, having fought alongside him at the Battle of Camperdown in the French Revolutionary conflict against the Dutch Navy. William's bravery in battle earned him a baronetcy in 1801. Unfortunately, he had made an enemy in Admiral Lord George Spencer (1758-1834) who prevented him from seeing any further active service. Nevertheless, William became Vice-Admiral of the Red in 1810.

    Portraits of William by Sir William Beechey and Sir Martin Archer Shee are currently located in the National Trust Collection at Charlecote Park.
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