David Martin (Circle)

Pair Of 18th-Century Companion Portraits

David Martin (Circle)

Pair Of 18th-Century Companion Portraits

This charming pair of mid-18th-century Scottish school companion portraits depict a gentleman holding a letter and a lady wearing a rose.

With his right arm resting alongside a quill, he stands assuredly with quiet confidence. His luxurious jacket, woven in dark purple velvet, worn over a matching waistcoat. Textured gold buttons punctuate the ensemble. While, in contrast to his dark tones, she wears a silvery white dress topped off with a pink rose and glistening diamond jewellery.

During the 1760s, Scottish portraiture was led by the hand of Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) who was held aloft for his exquisite Italian-inspired depictions of the landed gentry. Ramsay, who today still remains underrated, was a match for any English artist, including his contemporaries Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.

Ramsay, in turn, trained David Martin (1737-1797) who accompanied him on study trips to Italy. Each immersing themselves in the spirit of the Old Masters and often working alongside Italian portraitists. Here, we see an artist acutely aware of Ramsay and Martin - capturing a mood distinctly Scottish in style.

Underneath the trappings of 18th-century fashion, there’s a steely composure and a sense of distinguished modesty.

Held within their original 18th-century gilt frames.

Learn more about David Martin in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 28½” x 36½” / 72cm x 92cm
Year of creation: c. 1765
Condition: One canvas relined. Areas of historic touching in. Frames with various signs of wear and repairs.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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