As dealers in Georgian antique furniture, it is a misconception to think that our collection is restricted to just furniture. To create an interior that befits the antique furniture you need the decorative arts, including porcelain, glass, and other objects of virtue, as well as paintings. We are particularly fond of British portraiture from the Georgian and Regency eras as they provide contemporary context to the furniture and work harmoniously together as an ensemble.
We were delighted to acquire this handsome portrait of Francis Lind by George Romney. Lind is shown in three-quarter-length, seated a window, holding a one-keyed Simpson ivory flute. The family, who retained the portrait until the early twentieth century, kept the flute in their collection through that time, according to the Catalogue Raisonné on Romney written by Humphry Ward and W. Roberts in 1904.
Born on February 13, 1753, Francis Lind served in the Indian Civil Service. He married his cousin, Ann Cooper, on October 12, 1785.
The portrait is dated to 1775-76 and was commissioned by Lind’s mother along with one of his younger brother, Edward George Lind. Alex Kidson, author of George Romney: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings suggests that the views behind both sitters likely depicts a view of the Lake District.
Edward lived with his wife, Elizabeth, at Barton in Westmorland, and she sat for Romney in 1787-88.
On the fly-leaf to Romney’s diary in 1776 there is a memorandum that reads, ‘Mrs Lind, Carlisle, to be sent on Friday morning to the Castle Inn.’ This note presumably denotes the address to which the portraits of the two Lind brothers were to be sent.
The use of the prominent green coat and trousers is an interesting choice. Michel Rastoureau, author of Green: The History of Color, notes, ‘In eighteenth-century dress, green was not a very common color. Nevertheless, it was more common in England, Germany, and northern Europe than in France and Italy. And the more green was promoted toward the end of the century, the larger its place would grow.
George Romney is one of the most celebrated British portrait painters of his time along with his contemporaries, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. Romney was born in 1734 in Dalton-in-Furness and began his career learning the art of cabinet-making as his father, John Romney, was a cabinet maker himself. Although he left this craft behind, he always maintained his skill at building things from wood, including violins.
Romney became an apprentice in 1755 for the portrait painter Chirstopher Steele. By 1757, he opened his own studio in Kendal in Lancaster. He achieved local acclaim for his portraiture and set off to London in 1762 to attract additional commissions. From his studio at 32 Cavendish Square, Romney produced numerous portraits that were very well received among the London society set. A rivalry between Joshua Reynolds, who founded the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768, and Romney persisted throughout both of their careers.
Romney’s work can be seen today in numerous public museums internationally, including the self portrait pictured above, which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.