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LOT 39

Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A. (Plympton 1723-1792 London) Portrait of General...

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Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A. (Plympton 1723-1792 London)
Portrait of General Dury, half-length, in a scarlet gold-frogged coat and a breastplate, holding a scroll
oil on canvas
76.2 x 63.1cm (30 x 24 13/16in).
Provenance
Collection of Horace Renshaw, 1956
Sale, Sotheby's, London, 19 April 1961, lot 116, where purchased by
With Frost and Reed, London
Sale, Sotheby's, London, 20 March 1963, lot 123 (bt. Newcombe)
Sale, Christie's, London, 25 March 1966, lot 29, where purchased by
With John Mitchell and Son, London, 1966
With Daniel Hunt Fine Art, London, where purchased by the present owner's late father in February 2016

Exhibited
London, St James' Palace, The Grenadier Guards, A Tercentenary Exhibition, 30 May-23 June 1956, no. 49 (lent by Horace Renshaw Esq)

Literature
A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A., London, 1899, vol. 1, p.271
'Notable Works of Art now on the Market: Supplement', in The Burlington Magazine, June, 1966, ill., pl. XII
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, New Haven and London, 2000, p. 174, cat. no. 548, ill., fig. 340

Alexander Dury was a son of the Huguenot immigrants, Theodore Du Ry (born in France in 1661) and Mary-Anne Boulier De Beauregard. Theodore, was a military engineer in Hugh Mackay's Foot, designing the fortification of Stirling Castle and elsewhere, and he was able to afford commissions for both his sons.

A linguist and man of belles lettres, Alexander went on to be a professional and studious soldier, as well as a generally cultured man. He travelled to Hanover and Berlin to study military affairs in the 1730s. He was admired in particular for his acclaimed thesis, De Terrae Motu, ('On the Earthquake'). His library 'reflected both his wealth and his strong, continuing enthusiasm for his books on war'; some 120 titles on war accounted for more than a fifth of his library, which was disposed of by his widow when the sale, including many contemporary military textbooks, plans and manuscripts, was held in four successive days in London.

He was commissioned into the First Regiment of Foot Guards on 24 June 1721, and, perhaps through his knowledge of French, seems to have been selected early for special intelligence duties. At the end of 1745 he was tasked by the Duke of Newcastle to take a party to Deal and take back a number of important Jacobite prisoners, who had been captured aboard the Soleil Privateer by HMS Sheerness on 22 November off Dogger Bank, and who might have proved useful reinforcements for the Jacobite Rebellion under Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Dury brought back the most important captives to London in a coach and six. Among them was Charles Radcliffe, who was beheaded on Tower Hill on 8 December 1746.

Thereafter, in 1747 Dury served in the Low Countries, in which the War of the Austrian Succession was raging, where he was put in charge of a rearguard of 200 footguards and a troop of dragoons, later protecting the Duke of Cumberland's headquarters. In June 1747, he took part in the Battle of Lauffeld, and then at the Siege of Maastricht in the Spring of 1748. Dury describes the battle in his memoirs, which are quoted in an article for the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research (Autumn 1993, Volume LXXI, Number 287): 'When they came to the top of the hill the fire was so hot that the officers, who used their utmost endeavours, could never form them. At this time – the business was over – some squadrons had drove the French back though the village but not sustained through the French cavalry, who behaved shamefully, were obliged to retire.' The Guards now formed about 400 in number, in a hollow near the village of Kisselt and became the rearguard of the foot. 'The whole was under the cannon of the Maastricht by 5 pm! The Austrians had no share in the battle, our right being far too distant from the left of the French in the action.' The allies lost between 5 and 6,000 men, killed, wounded and missing, the French between 12 and 15,000. Dury's account throws new light on this battle for Maastricht, where Louis XV was so horrified by the losses he saw that he took the initiative for opening peace talks. After the battle, Dury was appointed Commissary for Forage and Bread for the left wing, which was a sign of Cumberland's good opinion of his administrative abilities. In 1749 he was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel of the First Regiment of Foot Guards and in 1757 he was appointed Major General on the staff.

The present portrait was painted in 1758, the year in which Dury was given command of a Brigade to take part in amphibious raids on the French coast. After several forays, one of which resulted in the destruction of much shipping in the port of Cherbourg, disaster struck in the port of Saint Cas in Brittany. Rough weather caused the fleet to move along the coast so far that that the disembarked troops could not all be taken up before pursuing French forces caught the rearguard, which Dury commanded. A great many of the First Guards were casualties, many being taken prisoner. Dury was himself killed, at the age of 54, trying to take men aboard.

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Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A. (Plympton 1723-1792 London)
Portrait of General Dury, half-length, in a scarlet gold-frogged coat and a breastplate, holding a scroll
oil on canvas
76.2 x 63.1cm (30 x 24 13/16in).
Provenance
Collection of Horace Renshaw, 1956
Sale, Sotheby's, London, 19 April 1961, lot 116, where purchased by
With Frost and Reed, London
Sale, Sotheby's, London, 20 March 1963, lot 123 (bt. Newcombe)
Sale, Christie's, London, 25 March 1966, lot 29, where purchased by
With John Mitchell and Son, London, 1966
With Daniel Hunt Fine Art, London, where purchased by the present owner's late father in February 2016

Exhibited
London, St James' Palace, The Grenadier Guards, A Tercentenary Exhibition, 30 May-23 June 1956, no. 49 (lent by Horace Renshaw Esq)

Literature
A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A., London, 1899, vol. 1, p.271
'Notable Works of Art now on the Market: Supplement', in The Burlington Magazine, June, 1966, ill., pl. XII
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, New Haven and London, 2000, p. 174, cat. no. 548, ill., fig. 340

Alexander Dury was a son of the Huguenot immigrants, Theodore Du Ry (born in France in 1661) and Mary-Anne Boulier De Beauregard. Theodore, was a military engineer in Hugh Mackay's Foot, designing the fortification of Stirling Castle and elsewhere, and he was able to afford commissions for both his sons.

A linguist and man of belles lettres, Alexander went on to be a professional and studious soldier, as well as a generally cultured man. He travelled to Hanover and Berlin to study military affairs in the 1730s. He was admired in particular for his acclaimed thesis, De Terrae Motu, ('On the Earthquake'). His library 'reflected both his wealth and his strong, continuing enthusiasm for his books on war'; some 120 titles on war accounted for more than a fifth of his library, which was disposed of by his widow when the sale, including many contemporary military textbooks, plans and manuscripts, was held in four successive days in London.

He was commissioned into the First Regiment of Foot Guards on 24 June 1721, and, perhaps through his knowledge of French, seems to have been selected early for special intelligence duties. At the end of 1745 he was tasked by the Duke of Newcastle to take a party to Deal and take back a number of important Jacobite prisoners, who had been captured aboard the Soleil Privateer by HMS Sheerness on 22 November off Dogger Bank, and who might have proved useful reinforcements for the Jacobite Rebellion under Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Dury brought back the most important captives to London in a coach and six. Among them was Charles Radcliffe, who was beheaded on Tower Hill on 8 December 1746.

Thereafter, in 1747 Dury served in the Low Countries, in which the War of the Austrian Succession was raging, where he was put in charge of a rearguard of 200 footguards and a troop of dragoons, later protecting the Duke of Cumberland's headquarters. In June 1747, he took part in the Battle of Lauffeld, and then at the Siege of Maastricht in the Spring of 1748. Dury describes the battle in his memoirs, which are quoted in an article for the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research (Autumn 1993, Volume LXXI, Number 287): 'When they came to the top of the hill the fire was so hot that the officers, who used their utmost endeavours, could never form them. At this time – the business was over – some squadrons had drove the French back though the village but not sustained through the French cavalry, who behaved shamefully, were obliged to retire.' The Guards now formed about 400 in number, in a hollow near the village of Kisselt and became the rearguard of the foot. 'The whole was under the cannon of the Maastricht by 5 pm! The Austrians had no share in the battle, our right being far too distant from the left of the French in the action.' The allies lost between 5 and 6,000 men, killed, wounded and missing, the French between 12 and 15,000. Dury's account throws new light on this battle for Maastricht, where Louis XV was so horrified by the losses he saw that he took the initiative for opening peace talks. After the battle, Dury was appointed Commissary for Forage and Bread for the left wing, which was a sign of Cumberland's good opinion of his administrative abilities. In 1749 he was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel of the First Regiment of Foot Guards and in 1757 he was appointed Major General on the staff.

The present portrait was painted in 1758, the year in which Dury was given command of a Brigade to take part in amphibious raids on the French coast. After several forays, one of which resulted in the destruction of much shipping in the port of Cherbourg, disaster struck in the port of Saint Cas in Brittany. Rough weather caused the fleet to move along the coast so far that that the disembarked troops could not all be taken up before pursuing French forces caught the rearguard, which Dury commanded. A great many of the First Guards were casualties, many being taken prisoner. Dury was himself killed, at the age of 54, trying to take men aboard.

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Time, Location
06 Dec 2023
UK, London
Auction House
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