George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie, 1829
Watson Gordon, John
oil on canvas
245.7 x 156 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 7151)
After seeing battle in the Napoleonic wars, Lord Dalhousie (1770–1838) was made Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia in 1816, then served as Governor-in-Chief of British North America in 1820–28. He encouraged economic improvement and energetically supported the arts and education, but repeatedly clashed with provincial legislatures over the bounds of his authority. In 1829 he was named Commander-in-Chief in India, an appointment commemorated in this grand portrait. Much is made of Dalhousie’s commanding pose and uniform, yet grandeur is tempered by studied informality: the ceremonial robe he wears as a member of the House of Lords is casually draped over the table.