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    Sale 7448

    Old Master and British Pictures

    7 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 227

    Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (Devon 1723-1792 London)

    Portrait of Admiral Thomas Cotes, half-length, in flag Officer's uniform

    Price Realised  


    Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (Devon 1723-1792 London)
    Portrait of Admiral Thomas Cotes, half-length, in flag Officer's uniform
    oil on canvas
    30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm.)
    in a contemporary 18th century carved and gilded frame

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    The sitter was the fifth son of John Cotes of Woodcote Hall, Shropshire, and his wife Lady Dorothy Shirley, youngest daughter of Robert, 1st Earl Ferrers. He joined the Navy when a young man, becoming Lieutenant in 1734 and then Captain in 1740 when he was placed in command of the 60 gun York. He was involved in Edward Vernon's attack on Carthagena and remained in the West Indies until 1745. He later commanded the 70 Gun Edinburgh and was part of the squadron under Hawke which defeated the French off Cape Finisterre. He was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the White in 1756 and Vice-Admiral of the Blue in 1758 and was Commander-in-Chief of Jamaica until 1760. Following his retirement from the Navy he represented Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, in Parliament from 1761 until his death in 1767. He married twice, first Mary Kendal (d. 1754) and secondly Miss Ryder. J. Charnock in his Biogaphia Navalis, or Lives & Characters of Officers of the Navy of Great Britain, published in six volumes between 1794 and 1798, commented that following his retirement from the Navy he 'passed a life totally abstracted from the naval service; and died at last regretted by every person who had heard his public character, and lamented by all who were acquainted with his private virtues' (vol. V, p. 16). This portrait was painted in 1762 and Reynolds recorded appointments with the sitter in April, May and June that year, with a first payment of 10 gns. recorded in the artist's ledger between 1 July 1761 and 22 November 1762, and a final payment of the same amount between 28 May and 29 December 1762.

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    By descent to the sitter's nephew John Cotes (1750-1821), through to his son,
    John, who married Lousia, daughter of Sir Charles Jenkinson Bt. and then by descent at Pitchford hall, Cheshire; Christie's, Pitchford Hall sale, 28-29 September 1992, lot 582, when acquired by the present owner.


    A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1899, I, p.118.
    D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, London and New Haven, 2000, I, pp. 147-8, no. 425, II, fig. 615.