In this full-length portrait Thomas Cochrane is depicted as 'Great Admiral of the Greek Fleet’. He is dressed in military uniform, holds a telescope and has a sword attached to his belt. A burning ship at sea can be seen in the distance and an anchor lies on the ground, to the left of Cochrane.
A larger version of this painting was on loan to the Government Art Collection from 1967 to 1979, from the collection of Lord Dundonald. It may have been the version exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811, after which portrait painter and engraver Henry Meyer produced a mezzotint in 1811. The version of the portrait on display here was purchased from the Cochrane family by the Ministry of Works (a UK government department) in 1956.
Another Ramsay portrait of Cochrane shows the sitter half-length, in front of a rural view, with his left hand resting on his sword and his right hand tucked into the opening of his naval jacket. It was lithographed by J. Bouvier and was published in September 1827 as one of a series of 'Greek Portraits.’
James Ramsay was born in Sheffield, the son of a carver and gilder who later became a dealer in prints and plaster models. Ramsay initially worked for his father’s business but also advertised himself as a portrait and miniature painter from 1801. In 1803, he moved to London, although he returned to Sheffield for short working stays. He is thought to have entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1805. After his studies he quickly established himself as a London-based portraitist. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and the Society of British Artists. In 1848, he moved to Newcastle upon Tyne, but continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy in London. He died after a long illness at his home in Newcastle.
Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (1775-1860) Admiral
Oil on canvas
height: 238.80 cm, width: 149.80 cm
Purchased from Charles L Cochrane, January 1956
Collection of Hugh Taylor of Chipchase Castle, Northumberland, from 1862; by whom presented to the Wellesley Training Ship (established as a charity school for boys); by whom offered to the National Portrait Gallery in 1910, but rejected; collection of Charles L. Cochrane; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1956
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