portrait of sir james richardson c1680 attributed to john riley

Portrait of Sir James Richardson c.1680, Attributed to John Riley.


| $5,319 USD | €4,527 EUR

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Traditionally known as Sir James Richardson, the portrait is in oil on canvas in a fine period oval giltwood frame.
As can be seen to the right of the portrait there is a fragment of a well painted feigned carved stone oval. Clearly this portrait was once rectangular and was a feigned oval before being made into a real one, so this fragment is an interesting footnote to the painting's history.
This is a typically truthful and discerning portrait by Riley.The sitter regards us with the stern and penetrating gaze of a Scottish Laird; he wears extremely costly lace, and his breastplate seems to be inlaid with gold. The armour, depicted so well by the artist, does not necessarily imply a martial career for Sir James, it is there to suggest an ancient aristocratic lineage.
It is likely that this portrait was painted to commemorate his succession to the title in 1680.
SIR JAMES RICHARDSON, 4th Baronet Pencaitland of Pitfour Castle, Co. Perth. He was the son of Sir James, 3rd Baronet and Anne McGill. Married Lady Margaret Kerr, daughter of William Kerr, 1st Earl of Lothian, and Lady Anne Kerr, in 1666. Sir James sold the estate in 1708 and died in 1717.
JOHN RILEY, or Ryley, (1646 1691) was an English portrait painter. He painted portraits of Charles II and James II, and was court painter to William III and Mary II. Riley studied painting under Isaac Fuller and Gerard Soest, and from the latter learnt a forcible, straightforward style of portraiture which rendered his portraits noteworthy. Riley did not attain much eminence until the death of Sir Peter Lely, when courtier and royal official Thomas Chiffinch sat for him, and was so much pleased with his portrait that he showed it to the king. Charles II gave Riley some commissions, and eventually himself sat for him, apparently saying of the result: "Is this like me? Oddsfish, then I'm an ugly fellow!" Riley also painted James II and Mary of Modena, and, on the accession of William III and Mary II, he was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary, jointly with Sir Godfrey Kneller, though he only survived for three years after this.
Riley was said to be a quiet, modest man, very diffident of his own art, but his portraits are truthful and lifelike. With more self-confidence he might have attained to the position of Lely or Kneller.
He was assisted in painting (at least) his draperies and accessories by John Closterman, who finished several of Riley's pictures after his death.
SIZE: canvas 30 x 25 inches. Overall 37x 33 x 2.5 inches.
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection.
Verso; label for Jolly's department store in Bath. Pencil annotation 'over fire drawing room'
Internal Ref: Riley


Height = 94 cm (37")
Width = 84 cm (33")
Depth = 6 cm (3")

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