Davison, Jeremiah (DNB00)

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DAVISON, JEREMIAH (1695?–1750?), portrait-painter, was born in England of Scottish parentage about 1695. He studied chiefly the works of Sir Peter Lely, and under the guidance of Joseph van Aken he acquired considerable dexterity in imitating the texture of satin. Having at the meetings of a masonic lodge become acquainted with James, second duke of Athole, he painted his portrait and presented it to the lodge. Subsequently he painted another portrait of the duke, together with that of the duchess, and under their patronage went to Scotland. He worked in Edinburgh, and there, as well as in London, gained a large practice as a portrait-painter, but his works are considered weak both in drawing and colour. In 1730 he painted the portrait of Frederick, prince of Wales. Walpole states that he died towards the close of 1745, aged about fifty; but there is in the possession of the Earl of Morton at Dalmahoy a group representing James, fifteenth earl of Morton, and his family, signed ‘J. Davison, 1750.’ At Greenwich Hospital is a full-length portrait by him of Admiral Byng, first viscount Torrington; in the National Gallery of Scotland is a head of Richard Cooper (d. 1764) [q. v.]; and in the Merchants' Hall, Edinburgh, is a half-length of Elizabeth Macdonald of Largie, wife of Charles Lockhart of Lee and Carnwath. A portrait of Mrs. Clive, the actress, was in Horace Walpole's collection at Strawberry Hill. The younger John Faber engraved Davison's portraits of Frederick, prince of Wales; James, duke of Athole; George, viscount Torrington; and Duncan Forbes, lord president of the court of session. The statue of the last-named in the Parliament House at Edinburgh was modelled by Roubiliac from the portrait by Davison.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum, 1849, ii. 702; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School, 1878; Cat. of the National Gallery of Scotland, 1883.]

R. E. G.