Framed oils on canvas
Framed oils on canvas
PORTRAITS OF MR & MRS GEORGE SIMSON
GEORGE SIMSON RSA
1791-1862 Labels verso
Oils on canvas 28 x 25 inches
Framed sizes 35 x 31 ¾ inches
George Simson was born in Dundee in 1791 and was the brother of William Simson
(1800-1847), who was also a painter.
George became a printer and later started painting around 1820.
He lived in Edinburgh and painted portraits and exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy and Carlisle Academy.
In 1829 he became a full member of the Royal Scottish Academy.
In 1831 he announced the opening of a new drawing Academy in Edinburgh together with his other brother David Simson (FL 1840s-1860s).
George Simson died in Edinburgh in 1862.
Bibl: Dictionary of Scottish Painters 1600-1960 – Paul Harris & Julian Halsby
George Simson D.L of Brunton and Pitcorthie, Fife, Scotland was born on
28 August 1796. On 26 November 1822 he married Mary Ann, daughter of James Sutherland Esq, a cadet of the noble house of Sutherland. He was an eminent lawyer and Justice of the peace in the Edinburgh area.
Dating from the 1820’s, this glorious pair of portraits are a superb example of refined Regency portraits.
What was particularly intriguing was the name George Simson seems to be written several times on the back.
The sitters are apparently George and his wife Mary Ann who married in 1822 (the date at which these were almost certainly painted as wedding portraits) however there seem to be no mention of the artist. However there was a talented artistic family who came from Dundee and amongst three brothers there is another George Simson who started as a portrait painter in the 1820’s.
Although the known portraits by him are of later date than these two, there are very strong comparisons between them. It seems likely that both sitters and artists were indeed related especially as they were in the same locality.
Both pictures are in their magnificent original Regency frames and were handled at some stage by the eminent Edinburgh art firm Aitken Dott.
MRS GEORGE SIMSON
The Simson family was long established in Fife.
George Simson, son of John Simson of Brunton and Blairstruie by his second wife, spent his youth in India.
There he married Mary Ramsay, daughter of James and Christian Ramsay of New Street, Edinburgh in 1789.
George Simson left India to return to England sometime between 1795 and 1806.
He had made a considerable fortune in India and assisted his step-brother, William, in his financial ventures and in the purchase of the Pitcorthie estate, Carnbee, Fife.
For several years from ca. 1806 George Simson was MP for Maidstone and resided at Silwood Park, Berkshire and in London.
On the death of William Simson, George claimed Pitcorthie in settlement of debts and agreements of long standing with William. The estate had been bequeathed to William’s illegitimate son George Belches Simson of Edinburgh, with whom there was a protracted legal battle which George Simson won.
The fortunes of the Simson family declined from ca. 1825 onwards. George Simson’s business ventures in London, in particular with a banking house (Bruce, Simson and Co.), had been disastrously unsuccessful and the correspondence reflects the financial plight of the family.
George died in 1848 and his son George continued to manage the remaining family estate and business interests.
He had been born in India in 1796 but had been educated in England; he attended Eton and Christ Church Oxford, married Mary Ann Sutherland in 1822 and died in 1869.
Other sons of George Simson senior continued the tradition of service in India. John Simson died shortly after reaching Bombay at the age of 21, but his brothers William and James Bruce had long careers with the East India Company, married in India and had children who returned to England for their education.
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