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Johann Heinrich Ramberg, 1763–1840
The St. Aubyn Family
Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor, pen and black ink, white gouache, and graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, brown wove paper
Sheet: 22 × 33 1/2 inches (55.9 × 85.1 cm), Frame: 29 x 39 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches (73.7 x 100.3 x 6.4 cm)

Signed and dated in pen and black ink, lower left: "Ramberg | 1787"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
armchair | dog (animal) | family | genre subject | horses (animals) | portrait
Associated People:
St. Aubyn, Lady Elizabeth (née Wingfield) (married 1782, died 1796)
Baker, John, of Orsett, Essex
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Though presumably commissioned as a dynastic portrait, not all the sitters in Johann Heinrich Rambergs' drawing of the Aubyn family have been identified conclusively. It seems likely however, that it depicts Lady Elizabeth St. Aubyn (d. 1796) and her second husband John Baker sitting on the right with one of her four daughters. The portrait may have been commissioned to celebrate the marriage of her daughter Dorothy to Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard, 1st Bart. of Belhaus in 1787, the year the drawing was executed, and the figures on the left may be Dorothy and her fiancé or husband, or her brother, Sir John St. Aubyn, 5th Bart. of Clowance and St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall. The drawings belonged to Dorothy, and it remained in the Barrett-Lennard family until 1923.
Johann Heinrich Ramberg was born in Germany; he studied in London with Benjamin West from 1781 to 1788 but does not seem to have pursued his career as a history painter very seriously. Best known as a caricaturist, theater designer, and illustrator, Ramberg was influenced by the graphic work of Hogarth and Rowlandson (see cats. 7 [B1975.3.141], 86-9 [B1981.17] [B1975.4.1844] [B1977.14.149] [B1993.30.113], 148 [B1975.4.1543], 154 [B1975.3.106]), and the latter's drawing style is evident in the Aubyn family portrait.

Gillian Forrester

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 25 cat. no. 10

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures (Yale Center for British Art, 1979-12-05 - 1980-02-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Patrick Noon, English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures, Yale Center for British Art, 1979, pp. 69-70, no. 74, NC772 N66+ (Wall Shelf) (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 24-25, no. 10, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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