The sitter was reputed to be the most handsome man in Scotland and the peer with the largest number of dependants.

Rural pursuits were his passion and it is as a sportsman that he has chosen to be depicted by Batoni. Gordon is seen in a scarlet English hunting frock suit, with the somewhat meagre spoils of the day's game at his feet and Gordon Castle in the background. His pose is loosely related to the Apollo Belvedere and recalls the equestrian portraits of Van Dyck. Batoni typically combined nonchalant yet elegant poses with dazzlingly-realized fashionable clothes and relevant antique sculptures to achieve personable likenesses. Yet within these standard ingredients his portraits show remarkable inventiveness and mastery at capturing the individuality of his sitters. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.

Provenance

By descent in the Gordon family and later in the family of the Duke of Gordon of the second creation at Gordon Castle,Banffishire, until 1937, thence at Goodwood House, West Sussex.


Scottish National Gallery

The Mound, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 2EL
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