A fine portrait miniature of Robert Hunter, as a boy, later advocate of Edinburgh

Artist/Maker JAMES NIXON ARA (c.1741-1812)
Dimensions 64.00mm high   
Description Robert with brown hair, wearing a red jacket with gold buttons and white chemise with lace falling collar
set in gold frame, the reverse with vari-coloured locks of hair tied with gold wire on blue glass.

The three tones of hair found on the reverse, bound together by gold wire, being blond, light brown and darker brown are likely to have been taken from the sitter's head, perhaps to mark important dates in the child's life. The transition from light to dark brown is indicative of the child's move from infancy through to toddler and then a young child.

Horace Walpole admired Nixon's work, as did Joseph Farrington - whose portrait Nixon painted. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1772 to 1807 and he was elected associate in 1778. He was greatly attached to the Royal Academy, and, being influenced by Sir Joshua Reynolds, he exhibited a portrait of Reynolds there in 1779. And although he is best known as a miniature painter, he also painted portraits in oil and watercolour, and also of historical subjects. In 1792 he was miniature painter to the Duchess of York. He held an appointment of portrait painter to the Prince of Wales in 1803. He was then appointed as deputy secretary to the British Institution in March 1806.

Although most of his life was spent in London, he was known to have lived in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1794 and early in 1798, and also in Edinburgh in 1795 (- 1797?), when this miniature was likely to have been taken. It was in Edinburgh that he met Raeburn and painted a miniature of the Count of Artois in 1797.

Robert Hunter, Esq, Advocate is recorded in the Scottish Post Office Directories, 1815-16, as living at 67 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh.
We are grateful to Stephen Massil in his help in identifying the sitter
Exhibitions Royal Academy
Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867, lent by the Misses Robertosn Macdonald
Literature Catalogue of the Works in the British Section of the Paris Universal Exhibition, History of Labour before 1800, number 527
Signed Signed on the obverse with the initial N
Medium watercolour on ivory
Condition Good
Ref No. 2380
Price £5200.00
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