Portrait of an officer, possibly from the Yorkshire Volunteers before intergration with the militia in 1808. Green facings with gold lace with a silver white rose of York on the epaulette.
Downman throughout his artistic career produced both highly individualistic drawings and small oils. The oil portraits tend to be fairly precise in execution and much date from the 1770s and 1780s when he was at the height of his popularity. However by the early 1800s tastes were beginning to change and the public generally found his work becoming a little staid. It was noted by a critic in 1789 “Downman’s heads have their usual delicacy and their usual sameness”.
A result of this critiscm was a change in style with many of his drawings from this period displaying greater individuality and freedom of expression. This portrait also shows the same expressive quality and combined with the typical elements of phyisionomy that Downman is known for suggest that this is a late portrait undertaken when he was striving for a new approach to portrait commissions.