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Mrs. Sarah Anne King and her child, Richard Duckworth King (1804 d. after 1836)


Artist: John Downman

Both seated half-length before a curtain and seascape background . She wears three miniature portraits in her upswept braided hair, the child points at another portrait miniature suspended from a chain around her neck
signed and dated 1805 far left, pencil, stump and water-colour heightened with touches of white

Sarah Anne Duckworth (1785-1819) married Sir Richard King (1774-1834) in 1803. At the time this portrait was taken, Sir Richard was a Vice-Admiral and commanded the Achille in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).

This charming portrait symbolises love, family life and tragedy. The ship in the background is no doubt a reference to Sarah's husband, who had left his wife and child to fight in the Battle of Trafalgar. The child is shown lovingly holding a portrait miniature around the mother's neck, which is likely to have been a portrait of its father. The tragedy behind this portrait is Sir Richard, died at sea in 1819 and was buried in Bombay, India - making it extremely unlikely that he ever saw this lovely portrait.

King was, along with the other captains, voted many honours following the battle of Trafalgar, and unlike several of his compatriots retained his command at sea, being engaged the following year in the action against a French frigate squadron in an action in which Sir Samuel Hood lost an arm. The same year he inherited his fathers baronetcy and transferred to the Mediterranean, where in 1812 he made the jump to Rear-Admiral and second in command to Edward Pellew. He was appointed KCB on 2 January 1815 and served as commander-in-chief on the East Indies Station from 1816. Continuing in service postwar in 1819 as a Vice-Admiral and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, King served as commander in chief in the East Indies
More Information
Year                 1805
Provenance                 with Leger Gallery, London, March 1946
Sotheby's, London 27 November 2003, lot 221
Literature                 G.C. Williamson, John Downman, A.R.A., his Life and Works, London, 1907, p. xxxii and p. lix, no. 25
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