Ayrshire Fencibles Cavalry

Joseph Daniel


Captain William Cambridge, shown here in a scarlet coat with yellow facings and silver epaulettes, was an officer in the Ayrshire Fencibles Cavalry. The regiment of horse was raised in 1794 by Col. Andrew Dunlop in response to the threat of invasion by Napoleon’s forces. The regiment was, however, short-lived as it was disbanded in 1800 possibly as a result of Col. Dunlop’s promotion to Major.

Many of the recruits were local farmers and townsmen. Amongst them, as reported by the Press in November 1796, was Sarah Penelope Stanley who, having run away from an unhappy marriage, disguised herself as a man and signed up to the Ayrshire Fencibles Cavalry. She served for about a year ‘with great credit’, rode well, had the care of two horses and was promoted to corporal. Upon discovery she was honorably discharged.

The portrait is in fine condition and is set in a gold-plated frame, the reverse with attractive beaded and engine-turned borders around a glazed aperture with the initials WSC in gold laid on plaited hair.

The portrait has been captured by the Jewish artist Joseph Daniel (1760-1803), son of Nochaniah Daniel of Bridgewater and brother of fellow artist Abraham and watchmaker Phineas. All three brothers worked in the Bath / Bristol area benefitting from the steady influx of well-to-do visitors drawn by the area’s renowned health-sustaining waters.

Item Ref. 9105

Size: framed, 80 x 70mm + bail

Provenance: Bonhams, July 1993