Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (Lucca 1708-1787)
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (Lucca 1708-1787)

Portrait of the Hon. Lionel Damer, half-length, in a red coat, with a grey vest and a white cravat, holding a letter and a quill pen

Details
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (Lucca 1708-1787)
Portrait of the Hon. Lionel Damer, half-length, in a red coat, with a grey vest and a white cravat, holding a letter and a quill pen
oil on canvas
38 x 29 in. (97.7 x 74.2 cm.)
Provenance
By inheritance at St. Giles's House, Dorset.
Literature
R. Charles Lines, 'My house at St. Giles', Connoisseur, CXLIV, November 1959, p. 73, in the Large Drawing Room.
A.M. Clarke, Pompeo Batoni, A Complete Catalogue of his Works with an Introductory Text, edited and prepared for publication by E.P. Bowron, Oxford, 1985, pp. 321-2, no. 344A, pl. 313.
F. Russell, 'Notes on Grand Tour Portraiture', The Burlington Magazine, 136, 1994, p. 440
J. Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800, New Haven and London, 1997, p. 272.

Lot Essay

Lionel Damer (1748-1807) was the third son of Joseph Damer, later 1st Baron Milton and 1st Earl of Dorchester (Chambers' patron at Milton Abbey) by his wife Lady Caroline Sackville, daughter of Lionel, 1st Duke of Dorset. Educated at Eton in 1755-1762 and at Trinity, Cambridge in 1766, he was M.P. for Peterborough in 1786-1802, standing for election in the interest of his friend Lord Fitzwilliam.

Damer's parents were in Italy in 1750 and Batoni painted a pair of portraits of them in that year: these, and that of their eldest son John, then aged six, painted at the same time, are now at Drayton. Both Damer's eldest brothers went on the Grand Tour. Damer is recorded as being in Naples by John Cotes in May or June 1772, and is recorded by Thomas Banks as arriving in Rome between August 1772 and July 1773 (Clarke, loc. cit.). On 30 April 1772 Patrick Home recorded in his journal having seen the present picture in Batoni's studio, describing it as 'strikingly like'.

This picture is of interest as apparently the earliest instance in which the son of one of Batoni's patrons sat independently to the painter: Joseph Leeson, later 2nd Earl of Milltown, whose father (later the 1st Earl) had also sat in 1744, did so in 1751 whilst travelling with him. For portraits of Damer's uncle George and of his own eponymous brother, see F. Russell, op. cit., pp. 440-1.
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