It is probable that John Boyd commissioned his portrait from Faber on a visit to London in 1698, a year before his death.

This portrait of John Boyd, Regent of Glasgow University, was made when Faber settled in England. Arriving from The Hague in 1696, Faber settled in London and soon gained royal commissions (a portrait drawing of William III dated 1702 is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and a portrait of Queen Anne dated 1704 was sold by Philip Mould & Company).

As a Regent of Glasgow university, Boyd fitted the demographic of patrons of the plumbago or monochromatic portrait of the later 17th century. Intellectual curiosity and connoisseurship of prints persuaded many academics, connected to universities, to commission their own portraits drawn in a manner akin to engravings. This was a period when prints were avidly collected – book and print sellers providing printed and engraved material, as well as aligning themselves to the great monochromatic portraitists of the day. In 1707 Faber himself set up his own business selling prints on the Strand - initially inhabiting...

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This portrait of John Boyd, Regent of Glasgow University, was made when Faber settled in England. Arriving from The Hague in 1696, Faber settled in London and soon gained royal commissions (a portrait drawing of William III dated 1702 is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and a portrait of Queen Anne dated 1704 was sold by Philip Mould & Company).

As a Regent of Glasgow university, Boyd fitted the demographic of patrons of the plumbago or monochromatic portrait of the later 17th century. Intellectual curiosity and connoisseurship of prints persuaded many academics, connected to universities, to commission their own portraits drawn in a manner akin to engravings. This was a period when prints were avidly collected – book and print sellers providing printed and engraved material, as well as aligning themselves to the great monochromatic portraitists of the day. In 1707 Faber himself set up his own business selling prints on the Strand - initially inhabiting premises at ‘The Two Golden Balls’ before moving ten years later to larger premises.

Some of the most successful artists in plumbago and monochrome were connected to the great British universities. David Loggan (1634-1692) made a group of portraits with the sitters connected to Oxford University. He became engraver to the University in 1669 and was a made a member three years later. He also published engravings of Cambridge University and its grounds in 1690.[1]

It is probable that John Boyd commissioned his portrait from Faber on a visit to London in 1698, a year before his death. He may have intended to further commission an engraving from this pen and ink drawing to include as a frontispiece in his published works.

[1] See C. F. Bell and R. L. Poole; ‘English Seventeenth Century Portrait Drawings in Oxford Collections: Part II’, Walpole Society 14 (1926), pp. 55-64

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500 Years of British Art