William Fraser of Reelig (1784–1835)

Sir Henry Raeburn British, Scottish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 957

In late March and early April 1801, the seventeen-year old son of Edward Satchwell Fraser and Jane Fraser of Reelig traveled to Edinburgh from his family home in Inverness-shire en route to London. It was the first of William Fraser’s numerous visits to the studio of Sir Henry Raeburn, where this dashing portrait was painted. The finished portrait was dispatched to the family dining room in northern Scotland while its sitter was relocated to Delhi as a colonial servant of the East India Company. William fell under the Mughal spell, fathering numerous children from his harem of five or six Muslim and Hindu wives. He never returned to Scotland, for he was assassinated while commissioner of Delhi in 1835.

William Fraser of Reelig (1784–1835), Sir Henry Raeburn (British, Stockbridge, Scotland 1756–1823 Edinburgh, Scotland), Oil on canvas

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