Oil on canvas
Baron Wildenheim : Lover's Vows
height (frame): 85cm
width (frame): 72cm
Thomas Harris; Harris sale, Robins 12 July 1819 (16) (as Baron Wildenheim by Singleton); Charles Mathews
Mathews 5 (as Baron Wildenheim in "Lovers' Vows" Quote: "Has not Count Cassel left his chamber yet?")
RW/CKA 472 (as Baron Wildenheim)
1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (5)
1982-3 London, Royal Academy, "Royal Opera House Retrospective 1732-1982" (135)
Murray's ornate military costume consists of a red hussar's cloak, a blue tunic with an extraordinary quantity of horizontal gold braiding, a black stock, and a red cummerbund.
Murray was the original Baron Wildenheim in Mrs Inchbald's “Lovers' Vows” at Covent Garden on 11 October 1798, a year after the death of Gainsborough Dupont. This is the part identified for this picture in both Mathews's catalogue and the Harris sale catalogue. In the latter, the picture is attributed to Henry Singleton, who did not die until 1839. The picture is closer stylistically to Dupont than to Singleton, suggesting it may have been unfinished when Dupont dies in 1797. There is a suggestion that several of the Harris Dupont commissions were completed by another hand.
In Ashton's Pictures in the Garrick Club 1997 the authors suggested Murray is wearing a costume similar to that worn by G. F. Cooke in James Green's 1801 portrait of him as Iago (see G0131). Murray was G. F. Cooke's predecessor in Iago at Covent Garden and played it on 24 October and 12 December 1796 - performances that Dupont could have been commemorating - and again on 15 October 1798 and 3 October 1799. However the role created by Murray of Baron Wildenheim is a more obvious choice considering not just the evidence from both the Harris sale and Mathews' catalogue, but what we understand about Thomas Harris's commissioning choices for his gallery at Belmont.