A flag officer, previously thought to be Sir Chaloner Ogle (1729-1816), Admiral of the Red

A three-quarter-length portrait showing the sitter turned half to viewer's right, in the flag officer's full-dress uniform of 1767-83 and apparently wearing his own hair dressed and powdered. His right hand is on his sword and his left is in a relaxed palm-up conversational gesture lower right against the rather sombre sky background of the canvas. This portrait has been the subject of long confusion, not yet entirely resolved. It was originally acquired in 1935 as an unnamed flag officer and subsequently identified, though on unclear grounds, as Sir Chaloner Ogle, Admiral of the Red and 1st Baronet of Martyr Worthy, by George Romney. This has now been cast into doubt by a half-length portrait by Romney (in the Metropolitan Museum, New York since 1953) of another naval officer of the same name and in the same uniform but of very different looks. The portrait in New York is smaller (30 x 24 ins: 762 x 675 mm) and bears an inscription on the reverse: 'Sir Chaloner Ogle. Brt / Senior Admiral of the Red. / His Royal Hs the Duke of Clarence being made / Admiral of the fleet over his head / died 1816'. It also has a family provenance to 1928. Further evidence for both pictures has been unearthed through research by Anne Ammundsen (2011) and Wendy Osborne (2013). Copies after both the Met. portrait (Anderson and Garland, York, 1982) and the NMM's (Christie’s, South Kensington, ‘Masters and Makers’, 29 Sept 2009, lot 486) have appeared in sales identified as Sir Chaloner, the latter as 'after Reynolds'. This one is certainly the same man as in the NMM picture and may, at some earlier appearance, have been the reason it was first so identified. Ogle is recorded as having paid twenty guineas for his portrait, a price which Romney usually charged for one the size of that in the Met. Since that one appears beyond reasonable doubt to be Ogle, then the present one, and the 'after Reynolds' of the same man are not. The sitter’s uniform in all of them (the 1767-83 flag officer's full-dress) rules out the possibility of either portrait representing a different naval member of the Ogle family.

While commanding the 'Resolution' 74 guns in 1780, Ogle formed part of Rodney's fleet to relieve Gibraltar and was present at the Moonlight Battle off Cape St Vincent against the Spanish fleet which followed shortly afterwards. He returned to England with the prizes but then followed Rodney to the West Indies as Commodore, before becoming rear-admiral later in the year and returned again to England. With the end of the American War in 1783 there was no further employment for him, or when the French wars began in 1793 - by which time he was in his early 60s. At his death he had risen by list promotions to senior Admiral of the Red, but had never flown his flag in a fleet command. [PvdM updated 11/11; KB updated 03/14; PvdM 8/18]

Object Details

ID: BHC2919
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Romney, George; British School
Date made: 1767-1783
People: Ogle, Charles
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Painting: 915 mm x 710 mm

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