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Major General William Borthwick (1760-1820) circa 1810


Artist: William Alport

painted on card with details in shades of grey, trade label on the reverse and ink inscription with sitter's name, set in the original gilt-mounted rectangular papier mache frame

Although previously thought to be the work Bullock , the trade label states, this was taken 'at the House of W. Bullock' not by Bullock. It is known that Bullock opened a Museum in Liverpool in about 1799. This Museum was presented in the form of a large sideshow—displaying a great variety of objects, which were added to as the years went on. Profiles were not part of the 'act' until 1806, when a notice appeared in the Liverpool Chronicle of that year to the effect that Bullock had 'completed a machine on an entirely new principle that will take the most accurate Profile Miniature likenesses in one minute.' So it seems that this year must have been the start of Allport's career as a profile painter. The machine produced by Bullock became known as a physiogratrace.

Borthwick was the eldest son of Lieutenant-general William Borthwick, R.A., and entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich as a gentleman cadet in 1772. He became a second lieutenant R.A. in 1777, lieutenant in 1779, and captain-lieutenant in 1790, with which rank he served in Flanders. As brigadier-general he prepared the siege train with which Wellington bombarded Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812, and was severely wounded during the siege. He also prepared the siege train for the last siege of Badajoz; but in April 1812 he was promoted major-general, and had to hand over his command to Colonel Framingham, because the number of artillerymen in the Peninsula was supposed not to justify the presence there of a general officer, After his return he reoeived a gold medal for the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, but was not even made a C.B. He died at Margate on 20 July 1820.
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