Wednesday 7 December 2016

Navy hero miniature raises £12,000

Published 08/04/2010 | 19:06

The British Navy hero who helped set the White House ablaze had a tiny portrait of himself sold for £12,000 at Bonhams
The British Navy hero who helped set the White House ablaze had a tiny portrait of himself sold for £12,000 at Bonhams

A tiny portrait of a British Navy hero who helped set the White House ablaze fetched £12,000 at auction.

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The miniature of Sir Pulteney Malcolm (1768-1838), a Scottish officer from Dumfriesshire, measures just 3.9in (10cm) in height.

In August 1814 Sir Pulteney was third in command of a fleet which set fire to several public buildings in Washington, including the White House.

The fire also raged through other buildings at the heart of American government, housing the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The attack was said to be in retaliation for the American looting of York, Upper Canada, now known as Toronto, in 1813.

Sir Pulteney went on to command a squadron in the North Sea during The Hundred Days' War, and achieved the rank of Admiral of the Blue in 1837.

The sale also featured a miniature of his younger brother, Sir Charles Malcolm, who also served in the Navy.

This lot went for £9,600 and prices included buyer's premium. Both miniatures are by George Engleheart.

Camilla Lombardi, of auction house Bonhams, said previously: "The miniatures of the two Malcolm brothers are superb examples of Engleheart's work from the pinnacle years of his career."

She said the portraits had been fresh to the market after remaining in the sitters' family since 1806. Both works went under the hammer in the Fine Portrait Miniatures sale at Bonhams in London.

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