W12 Benjamin West

Benjamin West. Portrait of the Drummond Family

Benjamin West. Portrait of the Drummond Family, signed Benjamin West lower right, oil on canvas, 60" x 51", painted in 1781, this is one of 3 Drummond family portraits painted by Benjamin West. The 3 sitters are Robert Hay Drummond, his younger brother, Thomas Drummond and their sister, Abigail Drummond, the later two being depicted posthumously. The younger brother is shown in his scholars robes, alternatively the female figures may be Robert's first wife who died in1780 or his second wife whom he has just married in 1781.
The temple in the background to which Robert points echoes virtue and honor and indicates his family's devotion to education and academics. The words virtutis and honoris appear over the entrance of the temple, as well the only legible word in the book held by the seated female figure, Regulus appears along with ghostly traces of their portraits. Robert Hay Drummond was the Archbishop of York and was the artists most influential patron in London, he introduced Benjamin West to King George Ill.

Provenance: Robert Auriol Drummond, Tenth Earl of Kinnoull, England, (who commissioned the artist to paint this portrait) descending in the Drummond family until 1916 when it was purchased by M Knoecile & Company, New York, who sold it to Percy R. Pyne II, New. 1926, who sold it at Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, January 12-13, 1940, Lot #236, illustrated. Sold again to M. Knoedler & Company, New York (who acquired it at the auction.) Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, 1948, who in turn sold it to the IBM Collection also in 1948.

Exhibitions: First exhibited by M. Knoedler & Company, New York, Early American Pictures, October - November 1921. Brooklyn, New York.