[audio:http://www.artmarketmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Batoni-Thomas-Fortescue-Alan-Wintermute-Christies.mp3|titles=Batoni, Thomas Fortescue (Alan Wintermute, Christie’s)] (Click on player to listen to audio)
From Christie’s catalogue:
Many of Batoni’s earliest British patrons were from Anglo-Irish families […] The pattern set in the years around 1750 was to be maintained for over thirty years and the builders of many of the great Irish houses of the period, including for example Headfort, commissioned portraits from Batoni. It may not be a coincidence that two other Irish sitters, Sir John Parnell, later 2nd Bt., and James Stewart of Killymoon, were also painted by the artist in 1767-68.
A fine example of Batoni’s controlled classicism, the present portrait is of the same year as two of the artist’s most masterly full-lengths, Sir Sampson Gideon and His Tutor, (Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria) and John, Lord Mountstuart, later 1st Marquess of Bute (Mount Stuart). Employing precise paint strokes and a high level of surface polish, Batoni renders Fortescue’s slightly amused expression with subtle vivacity, while the sitter’s striking emerald green coat and waistcoat is flamboyant in its flourish of lace and gold frogging — the artist’s control of fabrics never relaxes — making for a memorable and elegant image of youthful self-confidence.