Sir John Watson Gordon (1788-1864) – Portrait of Sir Francis Ford 2nd Bt (1787-1839)
Oil on canvas: 36 by 28 inches
The painting is currently without a frame.
The sitter is the son of Sir Francis Ford 1st Bt of Ember Court, Surrey and Lears, Barbados, a wealthy plantation owner and politician. His mother was Mary Anson of Shugborough, Staffordshire. He appears to have inherited these estates on the death of his father but was less actively involved and is known to have spent most of his life in England. He was depicted as a child, along with his sister, by William Beechey (Tate Gallery).
The artist was born in Edinburgh, and concentrated on portraiture in the 1820s. He was a close friend of Raeburn who was an influence as was Lawrence and Velaquez. He exhibited at the RA and elsewhere regularly and was held in high esteem by the Queen who bestowed him a knighthood in 1850 for his work. He tended to experiment with poses and favoured a larger size of canvas as used here. He also tended to use the same red leather studio chair for his subjects as is evident here.