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Portrait of last SC royal governor up for auction

Jul 5, 2010 1:31:00 PM - thestate.com
A portrait of the last royal governor of South Carolina by noted landscape and portrait artist Thomas Gainsborough is expected to bring as much as $450,000 at auction.

The work is being auctioned Tuesday at Christie's London as part of a sale of old master and 19th Century paintings.

The half-length portrait of the royal governor, Lord William Campbell, shows Campbell in his naval uniform. It is thought to have been painted in the mid to late-1770s, after Campbell had returned to England.

Gainsborough, renowned for his landscapes, was also a portrait painter of the period and his best-known work is "The Blue Boy," which is part of the collection at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. Christie's holds the world auction record for a work by Gainsborough, set in April 2008 with the sale of "A Wooded Landscape" for $5.7 million.

Campbell had a brief and stormy tenure as royal governor of the South Carolina colony. Married to a South Carolinian, Campbell became governor in June 1775, six months after patriot leaders established a provincial congress in the colony to act independently of British rule.

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