Field-Marshall Sir Robert Rich, 4th Bt (1685-1768)
||Oil on canvas
||2380 x 1460 mm
|Place of origin
General Sir Robert Rich, 4th Baronet of Roos Hall, Suffolk would have been a brigadier-general (appointed March 1727), and colonel of the 8th Dragoon Guards (1725-31) at the time this portrait was painted. His real career was the army, but he was also Governor of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea from 1740, and Groom of the Bedchamber to George II, first as Prince of Wales (1718-27) and then as King, until his resignation in 1759.
His identity is assured by the old inscription on the reverse of the canvas, and borne out by his black eye-patch. Horace Walpole, in his Description of ... ... Strawberry Hill (1784 edn.) uses this to identify him in his Marco Ricci of the ‘Rehearsal of an Opera’ (sold at Sotheby’s). It is, however, difficult to identify the fortified town in the background in a way that ties in with his military career.
Oil painting on canvas, Field-Marshall Sir Robert Rich, 4th Bt (1685-1768), by William Aikman (Forfar 1682 – London 1731), inscribed on reverse: The Honourable/Sr Robert Rich./Wm Aikman. pinxit:/Ao. Domi 1729. A full-length portrait of Rich as a colonel of the Dragoon guards. Full grey wig. Patch on left eye. Blue velvet coat over breast plate with under-tunic. Blue velvet breeches, beige hose, black shoes with silver buckles. Left hand on hilt of sword, right hand pointing to his right. He sat for Hobart's pocket borough of Bere Alston in Devon in 1724-7, and from 1727-1741 he succeeded him as MP for St Ives, Cornwall.
Makers and roles
William Aikman (Forfar 1682 – London 1731), artist