A97: Captain William Holburne
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Captain William Holburne|
|Additional title||Captain Alexander Holburne|
|Object type||In category: Pictures » Painting|
British school (known) - Painter(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » British Isles » Great Britain » Great Britain|
76.2 cm height sight
63.5 cm width sight
|Materials & techniques||
Pictures: Medium » Paint » Oil paint
Pictures: Support » Canvas
Half-length portrait of middle-aged man, turned to right, face half profile to right. In partial painted oval, probably cut down. Grey powdered wig with three rows of tight side curls, smiling expression. Blue coat with large lapels lined in white; double row of gold braid at collar, round gilt buttons.
|Marks and inscriptions||
There are two possible sitters for this portrait, which is certainly by a British artist:
CAPTAIN WILLIAM HOLBURNE (c.1706-1760) of the Royal Navy, second son of the 1st Baronet, brother of Admiral Francis, and great uncle of Sir Thomas William. He joined the British Navy as a young man, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1739 and in 1748 became Captain of the Prince Frederick. He served with his brother Francis on expeditions to Nova Scotia in 1755 and 1757. He died at sea in April 1760.
CAPTAIN ALEXANDER HOLBURNE, 3rd Bart (d. 1772), second son of the second Baronet, nephew of Admiral Francis and 2nd cousin of Sir Thomas William. He became the 3rd Baronet on his father's death in 1758 following the demise of his elder brother James, who was killed in a naval skirmish in 1756. Both brothers were naval officers. Alexander rose to the rank of Captain in 1763, but before he could take command of his ship he was imprisoned for debt at Southwark and only released shortly before his death. As he had no children, the title passed to his cousin Francis, rather of Sir William, the collector.
The sitter is more likely to be Captain William, because:
1. The 1867 and 1887 catalogues list the painting as 'Portrait of Captain Holburne, Admiral Holburne's Brother.'
2. The 1936 catalogue (no. 29) lists the painting as 'English School: Captain William Holburne, RN, Commander of the Newark, ob. 1760. He was the 2nd son of the first Baronet.'
3. The portrait shows a middle-aged man in 1753, when William would have been about 47 and Alexander a generation younger. In 1753, William was already a captain, whereas Alexander did not reach this rank until 1763.
The Holburne of Menstrie Museum, Catalogue, Pictures, I, Bath 1936, cat. no. 29, p. 13
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » Sir William Holburne and his Collection » The Founder: Sir William Holburne of Menstrie (1793-1874)
Oil paintings in the Holburne Museum
|Method of acquisition||Bequest|
|Provenance||Presumably by descent from the sitter to Sir Francis Holburne, 4th Bart; Sir T. W. Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882); by whom bequeathed to the Museum|
Title of exhibition: Long term loan
Title of exhibition: Holburne 100
Title of exhibition: A Trafalgar Boy: Sir William Holburne and the Sea