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Sir John Taylor, Bt, F.R.S. (1745-1786)
Mezzotint by John Dixon (c.1740-1811)
After a portrait by John Smart (1741-1811)
39.2 cm x 29 cm (platemark)
Portrait of John Taylor, head and shoulders in an oval frame looking outwards with lace frill. Lettered below the image "J. Smart Pinxt. / /J,, Dixon Sculpt."
With the dealer William Robert Deighton, Grand Hotel Buildings, Charing Cross, Strand (Label Verso)
Taylor was born in the Colony of Jamaica in 1745 where his family had amassed a huge fortune through the ownership of sugar plantations. He returned to England to be educated and in due course attended St John’s College, Oxford.
A great collector and patron of the arts he embarked on a Grand Tour in 1770. His portrait appears in Johann Zoffany's masterpiece of the 1770's "The Tribuna of the Uffizi in Florence".
The plate here was probably issued in 1776 to mark the sitter's election to the Society of Dilettanti and his having been made a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was created baronet of Lyssons Hall, Jamaica in 1778, the year in which he also married Elizabeth Goodin/Gooden Haughton (1758-1821), who was also heir to a large Jamaican, slave-property fortune. They lived in a grand house on Hill Street, Berkeley Square. Her portrait was painted, amongst others, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (now in the Frick Collection, New York). The wedding between John and Elizabeth had been delayed due to her family's disapproval of his supposedly profligate lifestyle.
Sir John Taylor died whilst visiting Jamaica to tend to his wife's plantations which had suffered badly from a series of hurricanes.