Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 52a

Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington

Oil Painting
ca. 1801 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
At the beginning of the 19th century, the expansion of British trade overseas created many more opportunities for individuals to acquire greater wealth and status. To proclaim their new position in society, people would often commission a portrait by a fashionable artist.

People
Lawrence was regarded in his own generation as the true successor to Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) and Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792). He combined a highly skilled technique with a sensitive rendering of character and his dashing, romantic portraits were in great demand.

Subjects Depicted
Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington was a member of an aristocratic family which owned extensive plantations in Barbados. He claimed descent from Sir Michel de Carrington, standard-bearer to Richard I (1157-1199). Sir Edmund was knighted in June 1801 and appointed first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Ceylon. In August of the same year he married his first wife, Paulina. The V&A has a companion portrait of Paulina, also by Lawrence. Both portraits were probably commissioned to celebrate this marriage and promotion before Sir Edmund left England to take up his post.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting, Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington, Sir Thomas Lawrence, ca. 1801 or 1802
Physical Description
Portrait of a young man, standing and looking right, in dark dress with a white cravat. Behind, a circular-shaped expanse of red.
Dimensions
  • Canvas height: 74.3cm
  • Canvas width: 61.9cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 14/01/1999 by KN
Style
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington (1769-1849) was a lawyer. His cravat is tied with a loose bow at the front, which looks like a 'Byron knot', named after the poet Lord Byron (1788-1824). The fabric would have been silk, lawn or muslin. It was starched or supported on a pasteboard stiffener to hold its shape.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Miss L. M. Carrington
Object history
Museum number 1359-1874, as well as museum number 1360-1874, was bequeathed by Miss L. M. Carrington to the museum in 1874. Laura Carrington was a younger daughter of Sir Codrington. According to a copy of a manuscript supplied to the museum in 1921 by Countess Evelyn Martinengo Cesaresco, granddaughter of Sir Codrington, ‘Paulina [his eldest daughter] gave the portraits to Laura her sister – who gave them to South Kensington’, i.e. the V&A Museum.
Historical context
Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington is thought to have been painted by Lawrence in about 1800 (K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence: A Complete Catalogue of the Oil Paintings, Oxford and London, 1989, no. 170). Sir Codrington (1769-1849) was Chief Justice of Ceylon (1800-1806), and was knighted in 1801. He was a member of an aristocratic family which owned extensive plantations in Barbados and claimed descent from Sir Michel de Carrington, standard-bearer to Richard I (1157-1199).



Sir Codrington was a portrait commission, like its companion portrait Paulina, Lady Carrington (1360-1874), wife of Sir Codrington, also by Lawrence and in the museum’s collection (Garlick, 1989, no. 171). It is possible that it was painted in London and that both portraits were commissioned by the couple to celebrate both their marriage and Sir Codrington’s promotion; and therefore painted before he left England to take up his new post in Ceylon. However, this is not certain. A copy of a manuscript supplied to the museum in 1921 by Countess Evelyn Martinengo Cesaresco, granddaughter of Sir Codrington and Lady Carrington, gives an alternative account of the painting’s provenance. ‘The Lawrence pictures of Paulina & probably also of Sir C. E. Carrington were done by commission of Mrs Belli [mother of Paulina] probably just before or after her daughter’s marriage’, i.e. in 1801. Additionally, Garlick notes the stylistic differences between the two portraits which leads him to date the portrait of Paulina (museum number 1360-1874) later than that of her husband’s (museum number 1359-1874), probably after Sir Codrington’s return from Ceylon in 1806 (Garlick, 1989, p. 166). Paulina died young in 1823. Seven years after her death, Sir Edmund married Mary-Anne, daughter of James Capel, MP (see Mary-Anne, Lady Carrington, Garlick, 1989. no. 172.).



Sir Codrington’s cravat is tied with a loose bow at the front, in the manner of a 'Byron knot' named after the poet Lord Byron (1788-1824). The fabric would have been silk, lawn or muslin and starched or supported on a pasteboard stiffener to hold its shape. This painting was exhibited at the British Institution in 1830 (no.47).



Lawrence was the most celebrated portraitist of the Regency and Napoleonic age, both in England and abroad. His prodigious talent was early recognised when George III appointed him painter-in-ordinary in 1792 at the age of twenty three. Soon after, in 1794, the Royal Academy of Art elected him as a full academician. He later became its President in 1820, having been knighted in 1815. Lawrence was known for his technical brilliance and as well as painting oils, which showcase his bravura brushwork, he excelled in painting pastel portraits.

Summary
Object Type
At the beginning of the 19th century, the expansion of British trade overseas created many more opportunities for individuals to acquire greater wealth and status. To proclaim their new position in society, people would often commission a portrait by a fashionable artist.

People
Lawrence was regarded in his own generation as the true successor to Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) and Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792). He combined a highly skilled technique with a sensitive rendering of character and his dashing, romantic portraits were in great demand.

Subjects Depicted
Sir Codrington Edmund Carrington was a member of an aristocratic family which owned extensive plantations in Barbados. He claimed descent from Sir Michel de Carrington, standard-bearer to Richard I (1157-1199). Sir Edmund was knighted in June 1801 and appointed first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Ceylon. In August of the same year he married his first wife, Paulina. The V&A has a companion portrait of Paulina, also by Lawrence. Both portraits were probably commissioned to celebrate this marriage and promotion before Sir Edmund left England to take up his post.

Bibliographic References
  • Gower, Ronald Sutherland, Lord, Sir Thomas Lawrence with a catalogue of the artist's exhibited and engraved works, compiled by Algernon Graves, London and New York, 1900, p.116
  • Armstrong, Sir Walter, Lawrence, London, 1913, p.120
  • Garlick, Kenneth, Sir Thomas Lawrence, London, 1954, p.31
  • Garlick, Kenneth, A catalogue of the paintings, drawings and pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence, Walpole Society, 1962-64, v.39, p. 51
  • Garlick, Kenneth, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Oxford and London, 1989, p. 165-6
Collection
Accession Number
1359-1874

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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