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Jean Laurent Mosnier, 1743/44–1808
Margaret Callander and Her Son James Kearney [2016, YCBA]
Former Title(s):

Margaret Callendar and Her Son James Kearney

A Portrait of Lady Callander and her son, James Kearney, both full-length, she wears a long white dress, he stands to the left and is in naval uniform, a landscape beyond.

A lady and her son [1796, Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhibition catalogue]
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
99 3/4 x 66 inches (253.4 x 167.6 cm)

Signed and dated, lower right: "JL mosnier 1795"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Lowell Libson and Spink-Leger Pictures in honor of Brian & Katina Allen
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bicorne hat | boy | costume | curtain | gesture | globe | mother | navy | pointing | portrait | son | woman
Associated People:
Kearney (active late 18th century), son of Lady Margaret Callendar
Callendar (née Romer), Lady Margaret (1757–1815), wife of Sir John Callendar, first baronet
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Margaret Callander (née Romer) was the wife of John Callander of Westertown, Stirlingshire, who served as member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed from 1795 to 1802, and again from 1806 to 1807, and was created a baronet in 1798. James Kearney was her son from a previous marriage. The portrait shows the boy in naval uniform, with nautical instruments on the table nearby, and may commemorate his leaving home for a career at sea. The French portraitist Jean Laurent Mosnier had served as a miniature painter to Queen Marie Antoinette but fled France as a political émigré after the Revolution of 1789. He worked in London from early 1791 to 1796 and later resided in Hamburg and St. Petersburg. His work in Britain shows an interesting assimilation of characteristically British touches—the realism of the boy’s hair shedding powder onto his shoulder, for instance—to a basically French, neoclassical style of painting.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016
Created by Jean Laurent Mosnier (1743/44-1808), the artist, for Lady Margaret Callander (née Romer, 1757-1815), one of the sitters; by descent to her nephew, John Romer (1780-1858); by descent to his daughter, Margaret Marshall Williams (née Romer, 1824-1901) and her husband Charles Reynolds Williams (1816-1905); by descent to their son, Romer Williams (1850-1942); by descent to his daughter, Armorer Romer Campbell, Countess of Breadalbane (née Williams, 1890-1987) [a]; Purchased by Leger Galleries, London, at Christie’s, London, November 24, 1972 (lot 109, “Portrait of Lady Callender and Her Son”) in “Fine English Pictures” [1]; gifted by Lowell-Libson and Spink-Leger Galleries, London to the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, 2001.


[1] The auction catalog indicates the work is “The Property of a Gentleman.” There is no record of Armorer Romer Campbell having sold the work between 1964 and 1972 at auction, but perhaps the work was sold through her son, John Romer Boreland Campbell, 10th Earl of Breadalbane and Holland (1919-1995), at the 1972 Christie’s auction where it appears as the property of an anonymous gentleman.


[a] Mark Girouard, “Preston Hall, Midlothian – II”, Country Life, 1961, pp. 454-457 at p. 457, “A portrait of mother and son, painted by Mosnier, and exhibited at the Academy in 1796 now belongs to Armorer Countess of Breadlabane, who descends from the Rome[r] family.

David H. Solkin, Art on the Line : the Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836, , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 237-38, 239, fig. 215, N5054 A78 2001B (YCBA) [YCBA]

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