• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7813

    Glin Castle - A Knight in Ireland

    7 May 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 117

    Charles Forrest (fl.1765-1780)

    Portrait of Surgeon-General Cunningham, seated by a window

    Price Realised  


    Charles Forrest (fl.1765-1780)
    Portrait of Surgeon-General Cunningham, seated by a window
    pastel, pen or fine brush and ink heightened with touches of white
    23½ x 17½ in. (59.6 x 44.4 cm.)

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    Charles Forrest was a contemporary of Robert Healy (see lot 118). They were both educated at the Dublin Society Drawing Schools and their work is similar in style.

    Forrest executed mainly pastels and chalk drawings, his Dublin theatrical portraits being particularly popular. A set of these portraits are in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

    The subject of the present drawing, referred to as Surgeon General Cunningham, is probably Alexander Cunningham, a Dublin surgeon. He is depicted in a typical period pose. An anatomy textbook lies open on the table beside him. The intriguing object, which looks like a wrist watch, on his left wrist is probably a miniature. Cunningham held the position of Surgeon-General to the Army in Ireland until 1779. He went on to work at the charitable Meath Hospital in Dublin.

    For a pastel of Miss Cunningham, tradionally thought to be his daughter, see lot 118.

    This distinctive frame pattern was originally supplied to teh Vanneck family of Heveningham Hall, Suffolk.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Crookshank & Glin, The Painters of Ireland, 1978, p. 76, pl. 63.
    Crookshank & Glin, The Watercolours of Ireland, 1994, pp. 64-5.


    London, P. and D. Colnaghi, Exhibition of English Drawings and Watercolours, 17 May to 17 June 1972, no. 129.