John Campbell of Morriston, portrait by Henry Raeburn. One of 21 Campbell family portraits left to the city of Glasgow in 1917 by Isabella Campbell.
This portrait, depicting John Campbell Senior of Morriston (around 1735–1808), was painted by Henry Raeburn, the prominent Edinburgh-based portraitist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He portrayed many members of the Scottish elite.
John Campbell was a well-known Glasgow merchant who owned a prominent West Indies trading company, Campbell Senior & Co. Alexander Campbell of Hallyards, a portrait of whom by Raeburn is also in Glasgow Museums’ collection, worked for this firm. John Campbell was the brother of Colin Campbell of Park who headed his own trading company. Colin and his wife Anne were also depicted by Raeburn and their portraits are in Glasgow Museums’ collection.
The Campbell family are representative of those influential Glasgow magnates who made their fortunes in the 18th century in trading sugar and rum to the West Indies. They are extensively represented in the collection, as one of their descendants, Isabella Campbell, bequeathed 21 of their portraits to the city in 1917.
In this half-length portrait, John Campbell is depicted wearing a brown coat over a yellow waistcoat and a white cravat. He is looking at the viewer, his body slightly turned to the right. The simplicity of the composition and directness of the execution are typical of Raeburn who focused on the sitter’ individuality and character.