Toulouse 1730-1788 Paris
Portrait of Sir David Carnegie (1753-1805), 4th Baronet of Southesk, in Profile to the Right, 1775
Signed and dated, lower center, A. Pujos Del. en 1775; inscribed on the backing, Sir David Carnegie Baronet of Southesk, Pujos fec. An. 1776.
Black chalk heighted with white chalk
6 ½ x 4 ⅞ inches
164 x 125 mm
Born in Toulouse in 1730,¹ Pujos moved to Paris by the age of 22. The Salon catalogues from Toulouse indicate that he exhibited his portrait drawings there from 1772 through 1775, and again in 1777. He was received into the Toulouse Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1770 and was also a member of the Paris chapter of the Académie de San Luc as early as 1769. In Paris he lived originally near the Place de Grève and, from 1788, off the Place de l'Estrapade behind the Panthéon. His mother is recorded as having lived with him; surviving him, she continued selling his drawings and engravings after his death in 1788.
Pujos specialized in small portrait drawings, in the shape of a medallion, an antique format initially promoted by Charles-Nicolas Cochin (1715-1790). These medallion- like portraits were often inserted within a trompe l'oeil architectural conceit, such as with our drawing, beneath a drawn stone block on which the image rests.² Distinguished sitters who sat for Pujos included Jean Le Rond d'Alembert (1717-1783), philosopher, mathematician and encyclopaedist; Voltaire (1694-1778), philosopher; the comte de Buffon (1707-1788), naturalist and mathematician; Allessandro di Cagliostro (1743-1795), occultist and magician; Franz Mesmer (1734-1815), theorist of "animal magnetism," or hypnosis; and Zamor (1762-1820), Bengali slave of Madame du Barry.
Sir David Carnegie, Bart., Scottish politician, was born in 1753, the eldest son of Sir James Carnegie, 3rd Baronet, and his wife Christian Doig. In 1765, at the age of twelve, he succeeded his father as 4th Baronet of Southesk, and, de jure, as Earl of Southesk. Educated at Eton, the University of St. Andrews, and Christ Church, Oxford, Carnegie was an MP in the House of Commons, sitting for Aberdeen Burghs from 1784 through 1790. He represented Forfarshire in the Parliament of Great Britain from 1796 until the Act of Union in 1801, and subsequently in the Parliament of the United Kingdom until his death in 1805. Carnegie was the Deputy Governor of the British Linen Company, a Scottish bank. He was responsible for partly rebuilding Kinnaird Castle, Brechin, seat of the Earls of Southesk for over six hundred years.
Pujos also made an eloquent portrait of Carnegie’s fellow Scot, the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), in 1773, now in the collection of the Musée Grobet-Labadié, Marseilles (fig. X).
Often erroneously recorded as 1738; see J.-C. Baudequin’s entry in Catalogue de Dessins, 2014, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Galerie Ratton & Ladrière, p. 18.
A similar example, Portrait of M. de La Faye, Sydic des Etats du Languedoc, formerly the collection of The Hon. Irwin Laughlin, Washington, was sold by Sotheby’s, 10 June 1959, lot 61, illustrated.