Sir Francis Grant
(18 January 1803 - 5 October 1878)
At the beginning of his career he utilized his sporting experiences by painting groups of huntsmen, horses and hounds, such as the "Meet of H.M. Staghounds" and the "Melton Hunt"; but his position in society gradually made him a fashionable portrait-painter.
In drapery he had the taste of a connoisseur, and rendered the minutest details of costume with felicitous accuracy. In female portraiture he achieved considerable success, although rather in depicting the high-born graces and external characteristics than the true personality. Among his portraits of this class may be mentioned Lady Glenlyon, the marchioness of Waterford, Lady Rodney and Mrs Beauclerk.
From the first his career was rapidly prosperous. In 1842, he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, and in 1851, an Academician; and in 1866, he was chosen to succeed Sir C. Eastlake in the post of president, for which his chief recommendations were his social distinction, tact, urbanity and friendly and liberal considerations of his brother artists. Shortly after his election as president he was knighted, and in 1870, the degree of D.C.L. was conferred upon him by the university of Oxford.
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Sir Francis Grant, R. A. (Brit.) Born in Scotland (1804-1878). Studied for the bar, but relinquished that profession to become an artist about 1828, receiving no regular artistic education. He first exhibited, in 1834, "The Breakfast at Melton," and for some years devoted himself to pictures of a sporting character, which contained portraits of famous huntsmen and horses, and were very popular in England, being frequently engraved. Among these were, "Sir R. Sutton's Hounds," "The Mee't of the Queen's Stag-Hounds," "The Melton Hunt" (which belonged to the Duke of Wellington), "The Ascot Hunt". His equestrian portrait of the Queen, painted in 1841, has been engraved, as have many of his portraits of distinguished Britons. In 1841, he was elected Associate of the Royal Academy, in 1851, Academician, and President of the Academy in 1866, a position which he held at the time of his death. He succeeded Sir Charles Eastlake, and was knighted by the Queen upon his election. He was the accepted portrait-painter of the upper circles of England, and
among his sitters at different times have been
"This eminent artist [Grant], remarkable, for his excellence in painting horses, and the style of his portraits in general, the striking resemblances given in them, and the grand simplicity of character with which they are invested, is of ancient Scottish family. One of the first portraits he painted professionally was the well-known equestrian one of Count D'Orsay. -- Memoirs of the Countess of Blessinglon.
Connoisseurs approved of his sketches both in pencil and oil, but not without the sort of criticisms made on these occasions; that they were admirable for an amateur, but it could not be expected that he should submit to the drudgery absolutely necessary for a profession, and all that species of criticism which gives way before natural genius and energy of character. In the mean time Frank saw the necessity of doing something better to keep himself independent, having, I think, too much spirit to become a Jock, the laird's brither, drinking out the last glass of the bottle, riding the horses which the laird wishes to sell, and drawing sketches to amuse the lady and children. He was above all this, and honorably resolved to cultivate his taste for painting, and become a professional artist. I am no judge of painting, but I am conscious that Francis Grant possesses with much cleverness a sense of beauty derived from the best source, that is, the observation of the really good society, while in many modern artists the want in that species of feeling is so great as to be revolting." -- Scott's Diary, March 26, 1S31, in Lockhart's Life of Scott.
Artists of the Nineteenth Century & their Works, Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.
Francis Grant, portrait painter, was bom in 1804 (1803?), and is a younger son or Francis Grant, the laird of Eilgaston, m Perthshire, and the brother of Lieut-General Sir J. Hope Grant, G.C.B. He was originally intended for the bar, but disliking that profession, took to painting at the age of twenly-four. He was fond of the sports of the field, and, moreover, had a respectable patrimony whicli he got rid of in the usual conrse of an independent life. The first subjects of his pencil were of a character congenial to his tastes, and very popular amongst the class of society with whom he associated, as the:
Bryan's Dictionary of Painters, Suppl., 1866
View painter's art: Sir Francis Grant
Cliffs of Doneen