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Title James Grant of Lettock
Collection Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums
Artist Blanchet, Louis Gabriel (French painter, 1705-1772)
Date Earliest probably about 1760
Date Latest possibly about 1772
Signed yes
Description The sitter, James Grant, is seen half length, leaning upon a green table, and looking to his right. With his left hand he tucks a flute under his right arm, and with his right hand leafs through some sheets of music. One corner of a three-cornered black hat trimmed with gold is just visible under his left arm. Painted whilst James Grant was on the Grand Tour, the portrait illustrates the cosmopolitanism of the 18th century Scots - such European travel was considered an essential part of a gentleman's education.
Current Accession Number ABDAG000637
Inscription front lr 'G Blanchet'
Subject portrait (Grant, James)
Measurements 92.0 x 79 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased with the aid of a grant from the National Fund for Acquisitions and with income from the Pilgrim Trust 1985.
Provenance Purchased through Sotheby's, London 1985.

Gabriel Blanchet left Paris in 1727 and took up residence in Rome, then the centre of the art world. This picture of a Scottish sitter has an instantaneous quality, typical of French portraiture of the time.

The inclusion of Grant's flute and the sheets of music that he leafs through with his right hand serve as a reminder that the enjoyment of music was a feature of north of Scotland country house life.

An old label on the reverse records that the sitter was James Grant of Inverourie, parish of Kirkmichael, who married an Aberdeen lady and lived at Lettock, and who went abroad with Sir James Grant of Grant. It also records that he was the laird of Lettock. Sir James Grant of Grant (1738 - 1811) was the head of the Grant family of which the Grants of Lettock were cadets. Sir James travelled to Italy between 1759 and 1760. We know from correspondence with the Abbé Grant that Sir James was in Rome in May 1760. There is practically no information on James Grant of Lettock except a letter amongst the Seafield papers in the Scottish Records Office. On 17 May 1760 the Abbé Grant wrote to Sir James in Bologna: 'you may tell James that I have seen Blanchet and that his portrait is almost finished and shall be given to Mr Jenkins or Plimmer to be sent home with yours.'

Rights Owner Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums
Author Jennifer Melville



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