attributed to Francis Lindo, Sir John Stuart of Allenbank, 3rd Baronet of Nova Scotia (1714–1796)

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Sir John Stuart of Allenbank, 3rd Baronet of Nova Scotia (1714–1796)
? 1760s
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 75 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
attributed to Francis Lindo (1714-1767)
Catalogue Number


Sir John Stuart (or Steuart) of Allenbank, Berwickshire, 3rd Baronet, was the eldest son of Sir John Stuart, 2nd Baronet, and Margaret Kerr of Moriston. He was the father of Sir John Stuart, 4th Baronet (1754–1817), whose sister, Margaret Stuart, married Sir John Coxe Hippisley, whom she met in Rome in the late 1770s. Margaret died in 1799. Her nephew, Sir John James Stuart, 5th Baronet (1779–1849) died childless, which marked the demise of the baronetcy.

Sir John Stuart, the subject of the present portrait, possessed a baronetcy of Nova Scotia, which had been conferred on his grandfather, Robert Stuart, a Scottish merchant and politician who had purchased the estate of Allenbank, Berwickshire. In 1737 he qualified as an advocate and in 1755 served as the Sheriff of Berwickshire and the Solicitor for Stamp Duties in Scotland. In 1750 he married Margaret Agnes, daughter of the wealthy liquor merchant Charles Smith (1688–1768), of Boulogne-sur-Mer, who also worked as a Jacobite agent and banker. Smith’s son, Hugh, himself a prominent Jacobite supporter, married Elizabeth Seton of Touch, assuming the name Hugh Smith Seton. The portrait of his son, Archibald Seton (MM55) is also at Mells.

Judging by the age of the sitter at the time of painting, the present portrait was made perhaps during the 1760s. The badge suspended by a red ribbon around Sir John’s neck presumably refers to the office of sheriff. This portrait has been attributed in the past to Francis Lindo, the alias used in England by the Flemish-born artist Jozef Hendrik Beschey (1714–1767). Lindo, who appears to have moved to England by the 1730s, was active as a portraitist in Aberdeenshire during the 1760s.1 As there are relatively few portraits by Lindo that can be compared with the present one, it is difficult to form a judgement as to whether it can be attributed to him with any confidence, although there are certain affinities with Lindo’s portrait of the Newcastle-based composer Charles Avison (St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne), painted in 1761, which has the same hard-edged style.

by Martin Postle


  1. For identified portraits by Lindo see, for example, Charles, 5th Earl of Traquair of 1761 on Art UK: (accessed 26 June 2020).


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