Sir Alexander Maitland

Richard Cosway


Traditionally identified as Sir Alexander Maitland, this nobleman is shown wearing a powdered wig tied en queue and ceremonial peerage robes in red and gold trimmed with ermine.

Born in Edinburgh in 1728, Alexander was the fifth son of Charles, 6th Earl of Lauderdale and his wife Lady Elizabeth Ogilvy. He enlisted at a young age with the 49th Regiment of Foot where he rose swiftly through the ranks. As Colonel of the Regiment for 52 years from 1768, Maitland oversaw action during the American War of Independence including at the Battles of Long Island, Fort Washington and Brandywine amongst others.

In his private life, Maitland married a General’s daughter, Penelope Judith Madad, and with her had six sons and two daughters. He was appointed Baronet of Clifton in 1818 and died two years later having reached his nineties.

Painted around 1780, the portrait is typical of Cosway’s mature style. It is in fine condition and resides in the original gold-plated frame, the reverse with plaited brown hair within a foiled blue glass border.

Richard Cosway (1742-1821) and his wife Maria were the arbiters of Regency fashion and their studio was like a magnet for the fashionable and would-be fashionable of London society. Flamboyant in his own dress, Cosway was an excellent self-promoter and frequented public events such as the theatre and art sales just to be seen and admired.

Item Ref. 9122

Size: framed, 70 x 62mm

Provenance: Richard Allen Collection