Nathaniel Hone’s portrait of John Gray Elmslie sold for $10,000 (£7965) at Merrill’s.

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The Irish-born artist, one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768, made his name painting portraits and portrait miniatures of the well-to-do of Georgian society.

The subject of this 2ft 6in x 2ft 1in canvas offered on on August 25, which has craquelure and a minor tear, is identified as John Gray Elmslie (1739-1822).

Left a valuable estate in Jamaica by his uncle John Gray, Lord Rector of Marischal College in Aberdeen, he became a West India merchant and slave-owner, sufficiently prosperous to live at 21 Berners Street, London, and father 21 children who became the respectable stock of bourgeois Victorian Britain.

The family’s Gray’s Inn estate in Jamaica, some 3000 acres of sugar-cropping land, is well documented, courtesy of a detailed plan drawn by Elmslie’s grandson, the British architect Edmund Wallace Elmslie, in 1839.