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Ainslie Portraits by Romney

These 50"x40" portraits were reunited for the first time in many years at an exhibition of Romney's work at the National Portrait Gallery in the summer of 2002. George Romney (1734-1802) probably painted Margaret in 1764, and James after her death in 1765. Shortly afterwards, Cumbria-born Romney left the Lake District to find fame and fortune as a society painter in London.

Dr James Ainslie was born in Jedburgh on 13 April 1732, son of Gilbert Ainslie and Christian Rutherford. He practised in Carlisle from 1754, and in Kendal from 1765. The portrait is owned by Bradford City Art College.

Margaret Farrer was born about 1731, daughter of Major Montague Farrer of Carlisle. She married James Ainslie in Carlisle on 4 May 1758. She died on 26 May 1765 from consumption following the birth of their sixth child Margaret. The portrait was bequeathed to Manchester City Art Gallery by James T Blair (a Barbour cousin) on his death in 1917.

Romney portrait of James Ainslie Romney portrait of Margaret Ainslie