A Grand Tour Group of Five Gentlemen in Rome
attributed to John Brown (Edinburgh 1752 - Leith 1787)
Oil painting on canvas, A Grand Tour Group of Five Gentlemen in Rome, attributed to John Brown (Edinburgh 1752 - Leith 1787), inscribed: on the plinth of sculpture: CAVILLA / TOREM / LEONI ('mocker of the lion), circa 1773. Four travellers stand or sit under a tunnel-vaulted structure with a niche (in which one of them sits), with a view to a valley with two cypresses and some buildings, bounded by mountains behind; a cicerone indicates the Antique group of A Lion devouring a Horse on a plinth, closing the picture on the right, to another of them. The five men are: The Rt. Hon. John Staples MP (1736-1820), James Byres (1734-1817), Sir William Young, 2nd Bt, MP, FRS, FSA (1749-1815), Thomas Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton of Bolton Castle, PC, FSA (1746-1807), and Richard Griffin, 2nd Lord Braybrooke, Baron of Braybrooke MP, FSA (1751-1825). Another example is at Audley End (EH), Essex which is recorded as having been there since at least 1836 and descended with the house's owners, the barons Braybrooks.
Presumably commissioned from the artist by John Staples (1736 - 1820) and thence by descent from his daughter, Charlotte (1786–1847), wife of William Lowry Lenox-Conyngham (1792–1858); put up for auction, Sotheby’s, 30 May 1934, lot 126, but bought in; purchased by National Trust in 1957 from William Lowry Lenox-Conyngham (1903–1957), shortly before his death, along with the other contents of Springhill
Springhill, The Lenox-Conyngham Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
attributed to John Brown (Edinburgh 1752 - Leith 1787) , artist previously catalogued as attributed to Philip Wickstead (fl.1763 - Jamacia 1790), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810), artist
Ford 1974 Brinsley Ford, ‘James Byres, Principal Antiquarian for the English Visitors to Rome’. Apollo XCIX, June 1974, pp.446–61, fig.7 Waterhouse 1981 Ellis K. Waterhouse, The Dictionary of British 18th-century Painters in oils and crayons, Woodbridge 1981 , p. 410, s.v. Ford & Ingamells 1997 Brinsley Ford, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1700-1800, ed. John Ingamells, New Haven and London, 1997, passim (s.v., p.998, and under the various sitters). Laing 2009 Alastair Laing, “John Brown as a painter?” Apollo, suppl. Historic Houses and Collections Annual April 2009, pp.12-17