National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts

Bulletin 6 (III:2), 1965

Annual Index
Author & Subject

A parcel of paintings Sent from 
Glasgow to Montreal in 1782

by Hamish Miles, Lecturer in the History of Art 
University of Glasgow

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5 View LochLomond. This is unlikely to have been a copy. ' A view of loch-lomond' (24 x 32 inches), and' A different view of loch-lomond; same size', priced at a guinea each, appear in the Catalogue of pictures...done at the Academy. (28) The antiquary Richard Gough, on the occasion of a visit to the Academy in 1771, remarked: 'They have engraved a wretched view of loch lomond': (29) a 'View towards the N. E. taken in Insmurrin in lochloman, terminated by Benloman and the adjacent mountains' had been engraved by Robert Paul in 1767, (30) possibly after one of the two paintings just mentioned-which themselves may well have been by him. Robert Paul (1739-70), who seems to have been primarily an engraver, was at the Academy by 1756. He and Charles Cordiner (1746-94), who was at the Academy by 1763, were the only members of it who are known to have devoted themselves particularly to landscape.

None of the paintings in the Invoice can be even tentatively associated with the second of the three artists named in Brown's letter to Dunlop, Archibald Mclauchlan. He matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1762: The fullest account of his life is that given by Alexander Campbell: MacLauchlan was a native of Argyleshire...His copy of Raphael's School of Athens, in which Cochrane assisted, is a proof of very promising talents. After a residence of two years in Italy, he returned to Glasgow, but fell into ill health, went to his native place, and died'. (31) The copy after Raphael, painted 'by permission of the late Pope' [ i.e. presumably Clement XIV, elected 1769, d.1774], as well as the titles of three of his original compositions, appear in Foulis's Catalogue of 1776. (32) McLauchlan applied for a licence to export 30 pictures by himself, including the copy of the School of Athens, from Rome in 1770. (33) It may be assumed that these were the fruit of his Italian tour and that he left Rome shortly thereafter. Only one work by McLauchlan is known to survive, a signed group portrait in the Glasgow Art Gallery of the family of John Glassford, a Glasgow 'Tobacco lord' and a patron of the Academy. (34)

The second part of Brown's Invoice, consisting of prints, may be dealt with more briefly. It will be noticed that a number of the items in it are portraits of French sitters, or subjects with French titles. This may be partly explained by Foulis's visit to Paris in 1752. There he acquired 'a good many scarce Prints', as well as many of the paintings already mentioned. It was at the same time that he must have begun to collect the original copper-plates from which were taken the prints advertised in the Catalogue of Pictures ...done at the Academy. (35) This lists more than a thousand prints made in this way, the greater part of them by engravers working in France. The relatively high prices asked for many of the prints in Brown's Invoice compared with those in the Catalogue suggest, however, that not all the prints in the Invoice had been locally produced. Indeed only the set of 16 Scenes from Rural Life, item 9 in the Invoice, can be traced to the Catalogue, and only in the case of items 7 and 8 in the Invoice is there any evidence of prints originally engraved at the Academy itself.

6 Comettas Meekness, Justice, and Bellasarius. The two first were engraved by Robert Strange after Raphael in 1765; the last was probably a copy from Strange's engraving of the same subject after Salvator Rosa. (36)

7 John Duke of Argyle, and Arcd Duke of Argyle. Allan Ramsay's portrait of Archibald, Third Duke of Argyll, painted in 1749, (37) was engraved at the Academy in 1755. (38) The engraving, which is unsigned, does not appear to have been published until 1757, when it was sold at four shillings. (39) An engraving is recorded of John, Second Duke of Argyll,
with the inscription 'Aveline sculp'. (40) Though quite possibly by or after (François?) Aveline, the engraving master at the Academy, there is no evidence that it was done in Glasgow, and, by reason of its much smaller size alone, it is unlikely to have been offered as a companion to the 1755 engraving of the Third Duke.

8 A Cupid after Corregioo. This is the only print in the Invoice that can be identified with anything like certainty as an original product of the Academy. It was presumably done after the painting of 'Cupid making his bow' ascribed to Correggio in Foulis's Catalogue of 1776, (41) and it is inscribed 'Engraved after the painting of Corregio by J. Mitchell Academy Glasgow 1761'. (42) James Mitchell, a pupil of the Academy, was active as an engraver there from 1761-73. (43)

9 16 Prints on Rurall Life French. These were most probably the '16 Rural pieces by Simmonneau, at 3d. each' given in the Catalogue of pictures ...done at the Academy. (44) Engravings of this description, by any one of the three members of the Simonneau family, are not recorded elsewhere.

Only these few items in Brown's otherwise cryptic Invoice have yielded to comment, and even the identifications offered in these notes must be looked upon as tentative. Furthermore, there seems no means of telling whether the cargo reached its destination and the pictures were sold. There is nothing further on their subject in Brown's letter-book. In spite of these uncertainties it is none the less possible that these documents could be of help in suggesting a source, if not an attribution, for some pictures that may survive in Canada yet.

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