Battle of Waterloo - A naive and unsual portrait, ink and watercolour, of a three month old Robert Spearman Swinburne aged 3 years and two days
A naive and unsual portrait, ink and watercolour, of a three month old Robert Spearman Swinburne aged 3 months and two days. Robert was the son of Lt Gen Thomas Robert Swinburne who fought alongside Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.
Lt General Thomas Robert Swinburne was described as a gifted amateur artist and we categorically believe Swinburne to be the artist in this case. This was found along with two a small collection of other sketches and paintings by him. The other two works that were originally with this piece included a sketch in Algiers inscribed in the same handwriting as this. Another of Spearman's works was Jean, a Pack Pony at Waterloo which sold at auction in 2012.
Thomas Robert Swinburne was born in March 1794 and raised at Pontop Hall, a 17th century manor house in County Durham. He was the eldest son of Thomas Swinburne (d.1825) and his wife, Charlotte Spearman.
In June 1813 he became an Ensign in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards. He was at the Battle of Waterloo at Quatre Bras and survived uninjured. He was also at the Siege of Peronne. In December 1816 he was promoted to Captain and transferred to the 3rd Dragoon Guards. He became Lt Colonel in 1838 and Brevet Colonel in 1851. He was Major General in 1857 and Lt General shortly before death. The General Army list of 1859 describes Swinburne's career thus:
"Major-General Swinburne served with the 1st Guards in Holland under Lord Lynedoch, and subsequently in the Peninsula and South of France. Also the campaign of 1815, including the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, storming of Peronne, capture of Paris: at Peronne he commanded a storming party. He served afterwards with the Army of Occupation in France"
He retired to Edingburgh. He died there on 29 February 1864.
We have acquired an example of Swinburne's handwriting from a separate source and this is shown in the images.
Another of Spearman's works was Jean, a Pack Pony at Waterloo which sold at auction in 2012.
The subject, Robert Spearman Swinburne, was born in April 1828 and served as an amry officer in the 54th Regt. Quite why his father chose to portray him with a beard, is unclear, perhaps after his own appearance. He died of a fever in August 1847 aged just 19 in Kinsale Barracks, Ireland.
Attributed to Lt General Thomas Robert Swinburne.
Recently framed by our professional framer. Frame measures: 22 cm x 15 cm