Bulkely Banson married Sarah Maule (1718-1776) in August 1748. The Maules were prosperous landed gentry descended from George Maule of Kings Sutton, Oxfordshire. They had four children and appear to have lived around Northhamptonshire and Cambridge. Banson probably was a merchant later in life and his body was interred with his mother-in-law in the city church of St. Andrew Undershaft.
This striking pastel portrait by an as yet unknown artist displays such strength of character and sureness of line that it is surprising that a name cannot be suggested. A pastellist working closely in manner is William Bellers, though his few remaining pastels suggest too weaker hand for it to be by him. The manner of its execution where there is a clear suggestion of a blue ground under the lighter skin tones, thereby giving depth and volume, perhaps indicates that it is by a painter more used to oil paint and canvas, than chalk and paper – though the overall quality suggests an artist quite experienced with the nuances of drawing with pastel.
This portrait depicts Bulkley around the age of fifteen. He is fashionably attired in the style of a wealthy gentleman, the gold embroidered silk waistcoat off set by the well cut grey wool coat suggesting the peiord of the early 1730s. Details of his life are scarce but this portrait clearly shows that he must have grown up in comfortable circumstances with wealthy parents.
With thanks to Neil Jeffares for his opinions concerning this portrait.