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A portrait miniature of Field Marshal Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Montreal (1717-1797)


4.1 cm (1 1/2")
wearing red coat with ribbon and badge of the Order of the Bath on his left breast, white waistcoat and stock
Set in a gold frame, the gilt-metal reverse inscribed Field Marshall/ First Lord Amhurst (sic).

Jeffrey Amherst was born at Riverhead in Kent and, as a boy, was employed as a page to the Duke of Dorset at nearby Knole Park. During the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748), he served as aide-de-camp to General Ligonier and was later transferred to the staff of the Duke of Cumberland. Thereafter, he gained rapid promotion and, in 1758, Pitt the Elder appointed him Major-General and Commander of an expedition to North America. During the Seven Years War (1756-1763), Amherst both engaged and defeated the French armies, ultimately capturing the stronghold of Montreal in 1760. Following this success in Canada, he was made a Knight of the Order of the Bath in 1761.

In 1768, Amherst was appointed Governor of the territory of Virginia but he later refused a field command during the Revolutionary War, as he maintained that he had too many friends on the opposing side. More controversially, he once advocated the use of biological weapons against the Native Indian population, suggesting the distribution of blankets which had been exposed to disease. A Privy Councillor from 1772, Amherst was elevated to the peerage in 1776. The culmination of this triumphant career saw him as Commander-in-Chief of British Land Forces from 1778-1782 and 1793-1795 and, finally, he earned a Field Marshal's baton the year before his death.

Lord Amherst was painted by both Gainsborough and Reynolds during his lifetime.
4.1 cm (1 1/2")
More Information
Medium                 watercolour on ivory
Provenance                 Bonhams, 19th November 2008, lot 57
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