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After Gainsborough
Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch

The Image
A mezzotint measuring 18” x 13”. Published 11 June 1771. After an oil on canvas by Gainsborough in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. This is a rare mezzotint; there are two in the National Portrait Gallery in London (accession nos. NPG D32258 and D32259) and one in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (accession no. PAH6478).

About the Artists
Based on the painting by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), one of England’s foremost society painters in the 18th century.

Engraved by John Dixon (1740-1801), who was born in Dublin and trained at the Dublin Society’s schools before moving to London in around 1765. By 1770 he had engraved four fine mezzotints after Reynolds, published by William Wynne Ryland. Dixon’s major prints include Rembrandt’s Framemaker and the highly-praised Tygress after George Stubbs. He became director of the Society of Artists in 1772. In 1775, he married a rich widow of some social standing and had to agree to give up his profession. His final exhibit, Fitzgerald James, 1st Duke of Leinster after Reynolds, was described by Horace Walpole as ‘a masterpiece of Art which has never been excelled’.

Published by John Boydell (1719-1804), an English engraver and print publisher, originator and builder of the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery. He studied engraving in London and in 1746 published a volume of views of bridges in England and Wales. It is as the publisher of works by other engravers, however, that he is better known. He managed to secure the services of the best artists and his business became extensive and lucrative. He rose to be Lord Mayor of London in 1790.

The Subject
Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch and 5th Duke of Queensberry (1746-1812), landowner and army officer. The young duke was a popular landlord; according to his friend Walter Scott, ‘his name was never mentioned without praise by the rich and benedictions by the poor’. His friendly expression, graceful tilt of the head and affectionate embrace of his dog, show him as a man of feeling. Yet the half-hidden Star of the Order of the Thistle and the low viewpoint ensure that viewers are aware of his rank.

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