Sir Charles Saxton

Richard Crosse


Portrait painted around 1765 of Sir Charles Saxton (1732-1808) in a powdered tye wig secured by a black ribbon bow. Gold bracelet frame backed with mother of pearl.

Sir Charles Saxton entered the Navy in 1745 and by 1762 had attained the rank of captain. He served¬†during the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years’ War, the American War of Independence (where he saw action off Chesapeake in 1781) and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was also in Jamaica in 1782.¬†In 1789 he was appointed commissioner of the Navy at Portsmouth where he remained until retirement. A baronetcy followed in 1794. Sir Charles was married in 1771 to Mary, daughter of Jonathan Bush of Burcott in Oxfordshire.

A native of Devonshire, Richard Crosse was born deaf and dumb, as was one of his sisters. He began painting miniatures as a hobby and in 1758 won a prize at the Society of Arts that inspired him to study art. He became a successful artist and built up a distinguished clientele that included royalty. He fell in love with his cousin, Miss Cobley, but she did not reciprocate and married elsewhere, the disappointment reportedly turning him into a misanthrope.

Item Ref. 5258

Size: 33 x 28mm

Provenance: Sotheby's, April 1981