14 October 2009
Mather Brown (Boston 1761-1831 London)
Portrait of Sir William Franklin of Muntham Court, Sussex (1720-1805), seated half-length, his hand resting on a pressure pump, with two inscribed scrolls behind
signed 'M. Brown' (lower left); and inscribed 'WILLIAM, OF MUNTHAM.' (upper left)
oil on canvas
30 x 25 in. (77.5 x 64.5 cm.)
with inscription 'Sketches of Bagdad, Palmyra and Damascus Minutes of a Journey over the Desert and the Holy Land in 1760, 61 & 62' (on scrolls, center left)
Sir William Frankland, and by family descent to
Maj. A.P. Frankland, Thrikleby House, Ascot, Berkshire; Christie's, 14 July 1930, lot 11.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, 2 July 1937, lot 75 (40 gns. to Frost and Reed).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 14 March 1980, lot 125.
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D. Evans, Mather Brown, early American artist in England, Middletown, Connecticut, 1982, p. 206, no. 60.
The sitter was the third son of Henry Frankland, Governor of Bengal. He served as a Member of Parliament for the borough of Thirsk from 1768-74 and as the High Sheriff of Sussex in 1782. In 1760, he began his three year trek beginning in India and passing through Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine, documented in the present picture by the inscription on the scrolls.
This painting is one of only a handful of portraits by the artist of his daughter Clara Serena, who died aged just 12 years old
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