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  • 1754 portrait of an unknown officer of the 24th Regiment

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Description

This is the work of the Scottish artist Sir George Chalmers and was painted on the island of Minorca in 1754; unfortunately, we do not know the name of the sitter. Minorca was an island garrison in the 1750s, and an important strategic location in Britain’s incessant wars against France. There were about 2,500 British soldiers from five regiments on the island at this time, a situation that persisted until 1756 when it was surrendered to the French following the loss of a naval battle off the coast. This was a considerable setback to Britain and led to the court-martial and execution of Admiral John Byng for his “failure to do his utmost” to defend Minorca. The gold medallion worn by the sitter was given to members of “Loyal and Friendly Society of the Blew and Orange”. This society is believed to have been founded in the early 1730s and vigorously upheld the Protestant succession to the British throne.

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