Ref NoFG
Alt Ref NoMS 11
TitleSir Francis Grant, list of works
Extent1 volume
DescriptionSir Francis Grant (1803-1878) was born in Edinburgh the fourth child of Francis Grant (d. 1819), laird of Kilgraston, Perthshire, a landowner with estates in Scotland and Jamaica, and his wife Anne Oliphant. He attended Harrow School from the ages 11 to 13 and finished his education at Edinburgh High School in 1818. He studied for the Scottish bar for one year but quickly decided to make a career as an artist instead.

He married Amelia Farquharson in 1826; she died the next year following the birth of their son. Grant married his second wife Isabella Elizabeth Norman in 1829; they would have seven children together. Isabella was the niece of the Duke of Rutland, the leader of hunting society at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. Grant had attended the hunts since 1820 and had become acquainted with the sporting artist John Ferneley whom he briefly studied painting with.

Due to his association with the Melton Mowbray hunting set Grant’s first successes were sporting pictures. Throughout the 1830s he exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1840 he received a commission to paint Queen Victoria, ‘Queen Victoria Riding Out’. When creating equestrian portraits he generally painted the horses in his studio, which was equipped for live animals, whilst his sitters often posed astride a wooden horse.

The success of his painting of Queen Victoria allowed Grant to concentrate primarily on portraiture after 1840. He painted many of the famous figures of his era including Benjamin Disraeli, John Russell, first Earl Russell and further portraits of Queen Victoria with Prince Albert. Grant’s portraits of women were particularly popular and well received whilst his most experimental portraits were of his own daughters.

Grant was an influential member of the Royal Academy, becoming its president in 1866. As president, he negotiated the Royal Academy’s 999 year lease on Burlington House, Piccadilly, London for the rate of £1 a year and oversaw its renovation. He also introduced the annual winter loan exhibition in 1870. Grant died of heart disease at his country home, The Lodge at Melton Mowbray on 5 October 1878, his family declined the honour of internment at St Paul’s Cathedral and he was buried in Melton Mowbray.

This biographical description is largely based on A. Cassandra Albinson, ‘Grant, Sir Francis (1803–1878)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2012 [, accessed 30 May 2017]

The list of works by Sir Francis Grant was copied by his daughter Miss E. C. Grant in December 1898 from a manuscript book kept by her mother Lady Grant. The list is organised by year and contains details of pictures painted, including whether they are traditional portraits, equestrian portraits or other paintings; sitters in portraits; the size of portraits; and the amount paid for pictures if they were sold. It spans the years 1828-1878. The list was indexed and annotated in 1938 by John Steegman, National Portrait Gallery employee 1925-1945. The annotations are in pencil and give details of where some of the paintings were held in 1938, there is also an earlier annotation by Charles Holmes from 1912. The index was compiled in ink and is organised by surname, the date portraits were painted is also documented in the index and there are pencil annotations recording where portraits were held in 1938 when known. Part of the index is contained within blank pages at the back of the volume, the remainder has been written on different paper and has been inserted at the back of the volume.
Related MaterialResearch papers by John Steegman on Sir Francis Grant are listed under reference number JEHS.
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