About this artwork

Born in Aberdeenshire, James Byres's Jacobite family left Scotland after the failure of the 1745 Rising. Educated in France, he was in Rome by 1758, training first as a painter and then as an architect. He established himself as a leading art dealer and professional guide in the city. In this portrait, Byres is shown second from the left, with his sister Isabella, Mrs Robert Sandilands, beside him. Her husband had died in 1775 and she is shown wearing mourning. On the far right of the canvas is Charles Norton, Byres's business partner. Byres's parents, Patrick and Janet, are the two central figures. The profile portrait above Norton's head may be of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

Franciszek Smuglevicz

Franciszek Smuglevicz

Born in Warsaw, Smuglevicz served his apprenticeship in the city before moving to Rome in 1763. In Rome he studied under the Austrian painter, Anton Maron and became fascinated by archaeological excavations, making copies of antique frescoes. On his return to Warsaw in 1784, Smuglevicz opened a painting school. He settled in Vilnius in 1797, taking up a post as director of the new School of Fine Arts. Smuglevicz lived in Vilnius for the rest of his life, where he continued to produce large altarpieces, murals, landscape drawings and Polish historical scenes.