Portrait of Professor John Hunter (1745-1837), oil on canvas
Follower of Sir Henry Raeburn FRSE RA RSA (1756-1823)
An impressive large scale portrait of the Scottish classical scholar, Professor John Hunter (1745-1837) seated in an interior with a large red curtain and books on a table alluding to his profession. Hunter was Principal at United College, St Andrew University and was elected professor of humanity there in 1775, a post he held until nearly 60 years. He famously quoted: “Is there one whom difficulties dishearten–who bend’s to the storm? He will do little. Is there one who will conquer? That kind of man never fails”.
Hunter published Caesar’s De bello Gallico et civili commentarii in 1809 and his edition of Virgil one year later. Hunter’s edition of Historiarum libri quinque priores enjoyed a scholarly reputation for much of the 19th century.
Painted large scale this portrait was intended to impress. The composition was a formula that was oft used by Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) for the gentry of his native Scotland and London society. They share broad similarities such as the seated pose, the sitter’s direct gaze, and an emphatically stretched arm. They exhibit the same palette of black and white for the sitter’s dress, a red damask chair, and a darker red drapery. A further element common to these portraits is that they are explicitly records of achievement.
Measurements: Height 131cm, Width 106cm framed (Height 51.5”, Width 41.75” framed)
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