Catalogue entry

N04693 MRS CHARLES STEUART (?) c.1794

Oil on canvas, 48 7/8 × 39 (124.1 × 99.1)
Bequeathed by Sir Edward Stern to the National Gallery, with life interest to his widow, 1933. Transferred to the Tate Gallery 1979
Prov: Presumably by descent to John Nairne Durrant-Steuart (great-great-grandson of Charles, the 9th laird); his sale, Dowell's, Edinburgh, 19 March 1904 (81), bought by Lawrie; with Agnew's by 1904; Sir Edward Stern by 1909.
Exh: Agnew's Winter exhibition 1904 (13); Cent Portraits de Femmes, Paris, 1909 (34, repr. in cat.)
Lit: Note on the Durrant-Steuart sale in Connoisseur, IX, 1904, p.59; Martin Davies, National Gallery Catalogues, The British School, 1946, p.110.

The picture is first recorded at the Durrant-Steuart sale in 1904, where the sitter was ‘believed to be’ the first Mrs Charles Steuart. Charles Steuart, 9th laird of Dalgusie, co.Perth (1756–1821) first married, in 1786, Grace, eldest daughter of Robert Steuart of Ballechin, who died in 1787. He married his second wife, Amelia Anne Sophia (d.1808), second daughter of Laurence Oliphant of Gask, in 1794. As Raeburn returned from Italy in the year of the first Mrs Steuart's death, it is unlikely that he had time to paint her. Stylistically the picture is quite compatible with a later date and is therefore more likely to be a portrait of the second Mrs Steuart, possibly a marriage portrait of c.1794. In the absence of any other evidence, however, the possibility cannot be excluded that this could be some other member of the Durrant-Steuart family.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981