• Old Masters and 19th Century A auction at Christies

    Sale 7842

    Old Masters and 19th Century Art

    30 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 73

    George Morland (London ?1763-1804)

    Portrait of a Waterman in the service of the Earl of Altamont, half-length, in uniform, seated at a table, holding a mug and pipe, with a dog at his side

    Price Realised  

    George Morland (London ?1763-1804)
    Portrait of a Waterman in the service of the Earl of Altamont, half-length, in uniform, seated at a table, holding a mug and pipe, with a dog at his side
    oil on canvas
    60 x 45 in. (152.4 x 114.4 cm.)
    with the arms of the Earl of Altamont (centre right, on the sitter's livery)


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    The subject of this large scale and sympathetic portrait is identified by his uniform and the large badge prominently displayed on his left coat sleeve as a professional Waterman. The coat-of-arms on the badge, are those of the Earls of Altamont. The sitter's uniform, which is close in design to that worn by the Bargemaster of the Waterman's Company suggests that the sitter was himself a Bargemaster in service of the Earl of Altamont, probably John Browne, 3rd of that title, subsequently 1st Marquess of Sligo (1756-1809). Watermen were a familiar feature of life in eighteenth-century London when the Thames was one of the most efficient ways of travelling and the scarcity of bridges made boats essential for crossing the river. Similar heraldi badges can be seen worn by the St. Aubyn boatmen in a photograph illustrated in T. Woodcock and J.M. Robinson, Heraldry in National Trust Houses, London, 2000, p. 153.

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