George Ramsay Perceval
Cornelius Beavis Durham
This fresh-faced youth depicted in the uniform of the 72nd Highland Regiment of Foot, complete with a traditional fly plaid draped over his shoulder, is George Ramsay Perceval.
Born in Quebec in 1821, George was the ninth of the eleven children born to Michael Henry Ramsay and his wife Anne Mary Fowler. His paternal grandfather was Spencer Perceval who served as the British Prime Minister from 1809 until his shocking assassination in May 1812 carried out as he approached the House of Commons.
George was just eight years old when his father died prompting the family to return to England. Ten years later he enlisted with the 72nd Highland Regiment of Foot and in due course was promoted to the rank of Captain. Tragically his career was cut short as he died in April 1850 whilst stationed at Demerara in British Guyana. His mother must surely thereafter have treasured this touching memento of her son.
Painted by Cornelius Durham, the portrait is inscribed reverse and set in a gilt metal frame.
Cornelius Durham is critically well-acclaimed as a miniature painter with Foskett placing him ‘among the higher ranks of those working in the nineteenth century’. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1828 and 1858.
Item Ref. 9134J
Size: framed, 72 x 60mm
Provenance: By family descent; Bonhams, 2003; UK private collection