Note: John Ross (1721-1790) was a highly successful British Naval officer, serving in the North Sea, the West Indies, and North America where he fought in the war of Independence. He also served as a Member of Parliament and was Vice Admiral of the Blue. The composition here resembles that in the James McArdell mezzotint after a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds of the same title. An example of this print is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The Reynolds portrait was supposedly at the Ross family seat at Balnagowan Castle in the northern Scottish Highlands. The estate left the family's hands when it was purchased in the 1970s by Mohamed Al-Fahed.
As noted in David Mannings' catalogue of Reynold's work, this painting is perhaps the version painted for Lord Hyndford, possibly sold in the Sir William Bass sale at Berkeley Lodge in 1913 , then by anonymous sale Christie's, London, September 29-30, 1977 (lot 88). A payment was recorded in 1763 for a painting of 'Capt. Lockhart for Lord Hindford'.
Literature: David Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, possibly no. 1141; Graves & Cronin ii, 591.
Lined. Craquelure with some areas of lifting, mostly unobtrusive. Scattered inpainting and surface soiling. Otherwise in good condition.