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William Blair

Date: ca.1814
Dimensions:
30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Object Number: 22.39
Label Text:Henry Raeburn first painted William Blair in 1811, when the boy was 11 years old. Shortly afterward, the life of William Blair changed dramatically, when the death of his father made him the head of his family at the tender age of 12. This portrait was made a few years later, at the request of a family friend, who had taken young Blair under his wing. The dashing brushwork and romantic, sentimental mood of this portrait capture the principal strengths of Raeburn’s late style, as well as the poignancy of the circumstances. The artist relied on strong contrasts of light and shadow to infuse the painting with drama. Brilliant highlights lend a sparkling glamour to the head, adding luster to the subject’s wavy hair. His eyes, by contrast, appear as soulful pools of darkest blue.
In Collection(s)