The Red Coat

James Scouler attrib.


During the 1770s, the new fashion for both sexes was for fabrics with smaller patterns so the gentleman depicted here was cosmopolitan in his dress. An Act of Parliament in 1749 banned the importation of foreign brocade and embroidery but smuggling was rife so the materials continued to be available. Some travelled to Paris expressly to buy new clothes despite the penalties; if caught, the new clothes would be burned.

So this prosperous-looking gentleman must have had luck on his side when he acquired his fashionable red coat. One wonders if he had red breeches to match! His wig with its tightly rolled ‘buckles’ is well powdered with a trace of the powder lying on his shoulder.

Attributed to the Scottish artist James Scouler (1740-1812), the portrait is set in an attractive carved and pierced frame set with diamonds.

The son of a harpsichord maker and the cousin of John Brown, another miniaturist, Scouler shows talent from an early age. He studied in London where he exhibited miniatures from 1761.

Item Ref. 6571

Size: 44 x 35mm + frame