||REYNOLDS, Samuel William after G.C. CHINNERY
The Honourable Sir Henry Russell, Bart, Chief Justice of Bengal
circa 1820. Mezzotint. In excellent condition apart from some overall light soiling in the margins and a skillfully mended tear in the upper right margin outside the plate mark. Image size: 24 1/4 x 17 7/8 inches. Plate mark: 25 13/16 x 18 1/16 inches. Sheet size: 29 5/16 x 20 5/8 inches.
A dramatic portrait of Sir Henry Russell by the renowned orientalist painter George Chinnery.
This is a wonderful portrait of Sir Henry Russell by the celebrated English artist George Chinnery. Henry Russell became an esteemed judicator in India where he was noted for his pursuance of justice and equality. Russell earned his unimpeachable reputation when he sentenced an English cadet to death for maliciously burning down a local inhabitant's hut. In pronouncing his judgment, Russell declared, "the natives are entitled to have their character, property, and lives protected; and as long as they enjoy that privilege from us, they give their affection and allegiance in return'. With this judgment Russell established a precedence in Indian legislation that deemed both Englishman and Indian equal under the law. This commanding portrait was commissioned from Chinnery by the local inhabitants of Calcutta, as a mark of admiration for this remarkable man who saw equality and justice above country and race. Chinnery painted a number of portraits while abroad, such as this one of Sir Russell, but he is best remembered for the large number of landscapes and decorative studies he made of oriental scenes in China and India. He developed a calligraphic style in his rapid sketches of local life that show him to have been one of the most visually perceptive of all European artists who travelled and worked in the East. (DNB)
O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 1