Bogle was born in Scotland and studied at the drawing school in Glasgow before focussing his attention on portrait miniature painting, establishing himself first in Edinburgh and then in London. Bogle’s mother, Mary Graham, was from a titled family and when Bogle’s uncle, known as the ‘Beggar Earl of Monteith’, died Bogle had the opportunity of claiming the title, although declined. Bogle was clearly amongst society’s elite whilst in London and he is recorded to have accompanied Fanny Burney, the well-known playwright and novelist, to the trial of Warren Hastings of whom she was a steadfast supporter Having painted her portrait in 1783). Bogle exhibited at the Royal Academy 1772-1794, returning to Edinburgh in 1800 where he died three years later.
Bogle was the master of conveying the sense of a large oil in a small portrait miniature. His compositions were almost always ambitious – as here, where the sitter’s arm is outstretched to the left, giving a sense of movement – also aided by the dramatic clouds painted in the background. Bogle often painted his sitters in profile, or semi-profile, as here. His work was also impeccably detailed, as seen here in the sitter’s uniform – working in a delicate stippling technique which gave his sitter’s faces a soft-focus effect.
It has been suggested that the uniform worn by the sitter here may be from the 70th (Glasgow Lowland) regiment, the 58th (Rutland) regiment or the 64th (Second Staffordshire) regiment.