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Little is known of Liet.-Colonel Bryce McMurdo (died 1838) except that he lived at Mavis Grove near Dumfries and that he married Jane Otway of Sevenoaks, Kent, in 1802. This splendid full-length could have been painted not long after his marriage, most probably after he had retired from the army. He is shown here in rural contentment, on the banks of a misty Highland stream, pursuing the joys of fishing - in his hat are wallets for storing tackle for both coarse and fly fishing. The picture is typical of Raeburn's broad and forceful style and commonsense approach which made him the leading portrait painter of his generation in Scotland.

August 2004