Allan Ramsay (British, 1713-1784) Portrait of Sir John Hynde Cotton, 3rd Bt. (d.1752), three-quarter-length, in a burgundy coat and a blue cloak
Lot 92
Allan Ramsay (Edinburgh 1713-1784 Dover) Portrait of Sir John Hynde Cotton, 3rd Bt. (died 1752), three-quarter-length, in a burgundy coat and a blue cloak
£20,000 - 30,000
US$ 32,000 - 49,000

Lot Details
Allan Ramsay (Edinburgh 1713-1784 Dover)
Portrait of Sir John Hynde Cotton, 3rd Bt. (died 1752), three-quarter-length, in a burgundy coat and a blue cloak
signed 'A. Ramsay/1740' (on ledge, lower right) and inscribed 'Sir John Hinde Cotton. Bart. MP.' (upper left)
oil on canvas
123 x 97cm (48 7/16 x 38 3/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Probably commissioned by Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 3rd Bt. (1692-1749) and by descent to Sir Watkins Williams-Wynn, 8th Bt., his sale, Sotheby's, London, 5 February 1947, lot 52
    With Doig, Wilson and Wheatley, Edinburgh, 1948, purchased by Charles Ballantyne and sold in the same year to the 2nd Viscount Weir
    Sale, Christie's, London, 8 December 1980, lot 374
    Sale, Sotheby's, London, 10 July 1985, lot 46, purchased by Colnaghi
    Sale, Sotheby's, London, 26 March 2004, lot 8
    With Richard Green Fine Paintings, London

    EXHIBITED:
    London, Royal Academy, Allan Ramsay, 1964, no. 3
    London, Colnaghi, The British Face, 1986, no. 25

    LITERATURE:
    A. Smart, The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay (London, 1952), pp. 44, 208, fig. XXXV
    J. Hayes, 'Allan Ramsay at the Royal Academy', Burlington Magazine, vol. CVI, 1964, pp.190, 193
    A. Smart, The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay (London, 1999), no. 104, fig. 39

    After leaving Cambridge Cotton entered the House of Commons in 1708 as one of the members for Cambridge, a borough he represented continuously until 1722. Originally tall and handsome, with an imposing figure, epic over-indulgence eventually distorted his figure, such that the legendary size of Cotton's backside offered an irresistible target for satire. In one caricature ministers were depicted preparing to thrust him down the throat of a reluctant monarch, to the accompaniment of such observations as 'his bottom's damn'd broad'.

    By 1733, with Tory morale low and the party lacking firm leadership, Cotton came to the fore, and was being described as one of 'the leaders of the Tories', even as 'the very head ... of the violent (some will say the Jacobite) party'. Yet it was only in the early 1740s that he took part in Jacobite intrigues and corresponded with the court in exile. Even then his participation in the negotiations for a Jacobite invasion in 1740–45 was marked by extreme caution and he never made any personal commitment. Thus during the Rising of 1745 Cotton managed to keep his place in government and ostentatiously proclaimed his loyalty to the Hanoverian dynasty when the rebellion was over. Nevertheless, he was still dismissed from office a year later and returned to opposition.

    In view of his slippery political conduct it is ironic that Cotton's funerary monument at Landwade in Cambridgeshire praised his 'integrity and manly conduct', and his successful avoidance of 'faction' and 'invective'; while his obituary in the Gentleman's Magazine stressed his incorruptibility rather than his moderation and emphasized his constancy to 'country' principles: 'he lived, he died a patriot'.
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