Although previously thought to depict Lt. Col. John Henderson of Foswell, this portrait is now thought to represent Sir Philip Charles Henderson based on the sitter’s dates and extant portraits. It is likely to have been one of the most important commissions undertaken by one of the Daniel brothers, whose work remains indistinguishable from each other.[1]

If painted circa 1793-95, the miniature shows Durham as the commander of a vessel – signified by the single epaulette on his shoulder. Durham has been described as ‘one of the most distinguished and colourful officers of the late Georgian Navy’, famed for his outstanding naval achievements and extraordinarily good fortune.[2] He made the first conquest of the tricolour flag in 1793 and the last in 1815, having two enemy ships surrender to him at Trafalgar. The facial features in the present miniature compare well with a painting by Northcote in the National Galleries of Scotland (PG2866), which is also known from an...

Read more

Although previously thought to depict Lt. Col. John Henderson of Foswell, this portrait is now thought to represent Sir Philip Charles Henderson based on the sitter’s dates and extant portraits. It is likely to have been one of the most important commissions undertaken by one of the Daniel brothers, whose work remains indistinguishable from each other.[1]

If painted circa 1793-95, the miniature shows Durham as the commander of a vessel – signified by the single epaulette on his shoulder. Durham has been described as ‘one of the most distinguished and colourful officers of the late Georgian Navy’, famed for his outstanding naval achievements and extraordinarily good fortune.[2] He made the first conquest of the tricolour flag in 1793 and the last in 1815, having two enemy ships surrender to him at Trafalgar. The facial features in the present miniature compare well with a painting by Northcote in the National Galleries of Scotland (PG2866), which is also known from an engraving showing him in captain's full-dress uniform, which likely dates to after June 1796 since he became a captain in mid-1793.

Grandson of diarist Margaret Calderwood, Durham was born into the landed gentry and joined the Royal Navy in 1777, aged fourteen. In 1778, under the command of the harsh and tyrannical Captain Molloy, his ship became mutinous whilst sailing around North America. In 1779, Durham was discharged from the mutinous Trident and returned to England, where he placed on the Edgar and was present at the defeat of Langara and the relief of Gibraltar. He remained with the Edgar until 1781, enjoying promotion to acting lieutenant of the Victory, and was present at the capture of a French convoy on the 12th of December of that year. In 1782, Durham moved to the Royal George and was the officer on watch when she sunk on 29th August 1782. Durham spent almost an hour in the water but was one of those fortunate enough to be saved by the Victory. Although the verdict of the court martial was that 'the ship foundered because she was rotten, and a great piece of her bottom fell out', the real cause was incompetent handling by her officers, a truth of which he must have been aware. He was moved shortly afterwards from the Victory to the Union and was present at the relief of Gibraltar by Lord Howe. Following detachment to the West Indies, Durham was confirmed in the rank of lieutenant, and appointed to the Raisonnable in which he returned to England in 1783, possibly around the date of the present portrait. In 1784, he was appointed to the Unicorn under orders for the coast of Africa, but ill health prevented him from sailing, and he spent the next two years in France, learning the language and mixing freely with society. On his return to England, he was appointed to the Salisbury.

In 1790 he became Elliot's signal lieutenant in the Barfleur, and on 12 November of the same year was promoted to the command of the Daphne for a passage to the West Indies; there he was transferred to the sloop Cygnet, which he brought home in December 1792. He was immediately afterwards transferred to the Spitfire, and on the 13th of February 1793 captured the Afrique, the first prize of the French Revolutionary War. Durham’s successes continued as he was promoted to captain on the 24th of June and then posted to the frigate Narcissus before being moved to the Hind in that October. In 1794, Durham was promoted to the Anson, one of the largest frigates then in the Navy, where he remained for six years. During this time, he took part in the defeat and capture of the French squadron off Tory Island on the 12th of October 1798, a service for which he, together with the other captains present, received the thanks of parliament and a gold medal. On 28 March 1799 Durham married Lady Charlotte Matilda Bruce (d. 1816), only surviving daughter of the earl of Elgin.

In July 1810, Durham was promoted rear-admiral and in December 1813 was sent out as commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands station, with his flag in the Venerable. On the outward voyage he cleverly captured two large French frigates, Alcmène and Iphigénie, on the 16th and 20th January 1814. Afterwards he cleared the West Indies of American cruisers; and in June and August 1815 he co-operated in the capture of Martinique and Guadeloupe, at which place the last French flag was struck to Durham, as had the first. The following year he returned to England. On the 2nd of January 1815 he had been nominated a KCB; he was now created a knight grand cross of the order of Military Merit of France, the only English officer, it is said, who received that distinction. On 16 October 1817 Durham married Anne Isabella, only daughter and heir of Sir John Henderson, bt, of Fordell in Fife.[3] On the occasion of this marriage, he took the additional name of Henderson, and afterwards, on succeeding, by the death of his brother in 1840, to the Polton estate, also took the name of Calderwood.

He was MP for Queenborough in 1830 and for Devizes from 1834 to 1836, being forced to relinquish his seat on his appointment in March 1836 as commander-in-chief at Portsmouth—a post which he held until April 1839. Lady Durham died suddenly towards the end of 1844. Shortly after her death, Durham started on a tour abroad, but bronchitis, caught during his winter journey, proved fatal, and he died at Naples on 2 April 1845. He had no children, and his estates passed to his niece, daughter of his brother Thomas, wife of Robert Dundas of Arniston.

[1] Joseph and Abraham Daniel were two of three brothers, the other being called Phineas, who worked in Bristol (Phineas), Bath (Abraham) and Plymouth (Joseph). Despite these geographical differences, it has not been possible to distinguish the work from one brother to the other. The present work shows great skill in the detail rendered, as well as a complex composition and ‘hot’ palette. It is one of the most proficient works from this group of artists, recalling the great talent of contemporary miniaturists such as John Smart, Jeremiah Meyer or Ozias Humphry.

[2] Quoted from Rubinstein, Hilary L; The Durham Papers: Selections from the Papers of Admiral Sir Philip Charles Henderson Calderwood Durham G.C.B. (1763–1845), Naval Records Society, Vol 166 (2019).

[3] John Henderson was previously believed to be the sitter of the present portrait.

Related artworks

Previous
Next
£ 7,500.00
Johann Anton de Peters
£ 7,500
£ 4,000.00
‘LEUCHARS’
£ 4,000

Receive information about exhibitions, news & events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.

Receive information about exhibitions, news & events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.
Close

Basket

No items found
Close

Your saved list

This list allows you to enquire about a group of works.
No items found
Close
Mailing list signup

Get exclusive updates from Philip Mould Gallery

Close

Sign up for updates

Make an Enquiry

Receive newsletters

In order to respond to your enquiry, we will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.

Close
Search
Close
500 Years of British Art