Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, 1743 - 1827. Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland (Dated 1774)
About this artwork
When the young duke made his Grand Tour of Italy in the early 1760s, he commissioned several copies after the old masters by the Swiss artist Angelica Kauffmann, then living in Rome. Kauffmann moved to London in 1766 where she painted Gordon in fashionable ‘Van Dyck’ dress together with the companion picture of his wife, the Duchess of Gordon. In this portrait the duke holds a miniature of his wife, although they did not enjoy a happy marriage, eventually separating in 1793. Whereas his wife was interested in the cosmopolitan world of politics, the duke preferred rural pursuits such as hunting on his Aberdeenshire estates and breeding deerhounds and setters.
- title: Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, 1743 - 1827. Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland
- accession number: PG 2787
- artist: Angelica KauffmannSwiss (1741 - 1807)
- depicted: Alexander Gordon
- gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(On Display)
- object type: Painting
- medium: Oil on canvas
- date created: Dated 1774
- measurements: 91.40 x 71.40 cm (framed: 108.00 x 86.50 x 5.30 cm)
- credit line: Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1989
Nurtured by her artist father, Swiss-born Angelica Kauffmann was an accomplished artist and musician by the age of twelve. Following formal art training in Italy, she lived and worked in London from 1766 until 1781. During these years she was one of two female founder members of the Royal Academy of Arts and became celebrated throughout Europe for her portraits, historical paintings, etchings, engravings and decorative designs. It was this versatility which appealed to the public and ensured Kauffmann made a successful living from her compositions. After a short-lived marriage to a bogus count, she wedded the Italian artist Antonio Zucchi and returned to Italy where she lived for the rest of her life.