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Dobson was one of the few top-level painters of his era to have been born in Britain. The rather Venetian freedom with which he handles paint suggests that he must have had access to Charles I's exceptional collection of Italian paintings.
This unknown officer holds a horseman's pistol in his left hand. In his right hand is a charging-spanner, which contains priming powder and a spanner for winding up the pistol lock. After the outbreak of the English Civil War, Dobson spent the final part of his life in Oxford, where Charles I and his court lived in near-siege conditions.

September 2004