Charles Robertson, Miniature Painter

(b. 1760, d. 1821)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Charles Robertson. Water-colour, by H. Kirchhoffer, R.H.A.; in the National Gallery of Ireland.

He is said to have been a son of a jeweller in Dublin, perhaps the Alexander Robertson who died at Ormond Quay in July, 1768, and was born in or about 1760. At the age of 9 years, in 1768, and again in 1769, he exhibited "Designs in Hair" at the Society of Artists in William Street, his address being given as "Essex Street," where his elder brother, Walter Robertson (q.v.), was practising as a miniature painter. In 1772, 1773 and 1774 "Master Charles Robertson" exhibited "Likenesses and Designs in Hair," and in 1775 "Miniatures." Up to this time he had been living with his brother, but he now took a studio for himself at 69 South Great George's Street, where he remained until 1783, when he moved to 11 Clarendon Street. From 1785 to 1792 he was in London, and exhibited two miniatures at the Royal Academy in 1790. He was back in Dublin in 1793, and was living in Mecklenburgh Street until 1798. After several changes of address he settled at No. 7 Holles Street in 1811, and there passed the rest of his life. He was a contributor of miniatures and flower pieces to the Dublin Exhibitions in 1800, 1801 and 1802; and miniatures and small portraits in water-colour from 1811 to 1821. He visited London in 1806, and exhibited two miniatures in the Academy, his address being given in the catalogue as "Charles Robertson from Dublin, 93 New Bond Street." He also exhibited in 1808.

Robertson was Secretary to the Hibernian Society of Artists, and in 1814 Vice-President, and he was also one of the Committee of Artists who for several years struggled for a charter of incorporation, but he did not live to see the successful result of his labours in the establishment of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1823. He died in his house in Holles Street on the 10th of November, 1821, aged 62.

Robertson's miniatures, especially his female portraits, are of much merit and are among the best produced by Irish artists. They are unsigned, and it is probable that many have been sold under other and better known names. His painting desk and his portrait, a small full-length in water-colour by Henry Kirchhoffer, are in the National Gallery of Ireland, the gifts of his great-grandson, Mr. E. Stanley Robertson.

Among his works are:

Anne C. Beresford, wife of Robert Uniacke and afterwards of Robert Doyne. [The late Miss Cane, 14 Clyde Road, Dublin.]

Jane Beresford, wife of Sir G. F. Hill. [The late Miss Cane, 14 Clyde Road, Dublin.] These two miniatures were left unfinished at the artist's death, and were completed by his daughter, Clementina Robertson (q.v.).

Mrs. Charles Beresford and child. R.A., 1806.

Mr. Carroll. R.A., 1806.

Sir Philip Crampton. [National Gallery of Ireland; deposited by E. Stanley Robertson.]

William Dawson, as a boy. [The late Miss Cane, 14 Clyde Road, Dublin.]

Charles, 4th Duke of Dorset, Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1819.

Duchess of Dorset. Soc. Artists, Dublin, 1814.

George Frederick, Duke of Dorset. Drawing. Engraved in stipple by C. Picart. Private plate.

Miss Higgins. [Sir Frederick Shaw, Bart., Bushy Park, Terenure.]

Sir John Hort, 1st Bart. [Sir Arthur F. Hort, Bart., Harrow.]

Lord Ingestre. Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1821.

Richard Jones, actor. R.A., 1808. Engraved by Freeman for "Monthly Mirror," August, 1809.

Hon. J. W. King. R.A., 1808.

Mrs. T. LeFanu. Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1815.

Viscount Lismore. Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1815.

Catherine, daughter of Geo. P. Monck and wife of Arthur Dawson. [The late Miss Cane, 14 Clyde Road, Dublin.]

Earl of Mountcashel. [Salting collection, Victoria and Albert Museum.]

"Anacreon" Moore. R.A., 1810.

William Preston. Engraved by H. Brocas as frontispiece to his "Poems," 2nd edition, 1802.

Maria Robertson, daughter of the artist; small full-length figure standing by a harp. Water-colour drawing. [National Gallery of Ireland; deposited by E. Stanley Robertson.]

Charles, Thomas and Christiana Robertson, the artist's children, seated at a table. Miniature. [National Gallery of Ireland; deposited by E. Stanley Robertson.]

Walter Robertson, the artist's brother. [National Gallery of Ireland; deposited by E. Stanley Robertson.]

Mr. Ryan and his family. R.A., 1808.

Sir John A. Stevenson. Engraved by A. Cardon.

Frances Thomasina, Countess Talbot. Engraved by T. S. Agar.

Hon. John Talbot. Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1819.

Group of children of Earl Talbot, Lord Lieutenant, with a horse painted by John Doyle. Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1821.

Hon. Arthur Talbot, with a dog painted by John Doyle. Hibernian Soc. Artists, 1821.

Portrait of a Lady; unfinished. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

Two Portraits of Gentlemen. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

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