HIS name has for generations been synonymous with health care across Moray, but until now his image has been a mystery.
A painting of Dr Alexander Gray has been uncovered by local historian Peter Wills in the course of his research into the Elgin-born doctor whose legacy funded the first ‘modern’ hospital in the area.
“Despite searching the globe for any fragments of Dr Gray’s life over the last three years, it seemed I would never find an image of the man himself,” said Mr Wills, who has a special interest in the Georgian era and local influence in the East India Company.
However, his luck was to turn when, while scanning through various gallery catalogues, he finally came face-to-face with Elgin’s famous son.
Yale University Museum Gallery acquired a ‘miniature painting’ of Dr Gray in the bequest of a private collector in New York, Davida T. Deutsch, within the last decade.
Crafted by Irishman Walter Robertson – who spent three years in America painting high-profile figures such as George Washington – it is a tiny watercolour on ivory, and in excellent condition.
“After he ran out of wealthy patrons in America, Robertson headed for Bengal, India, where in about 1799 he painted Dr Gray. Walter Robertson died in India shortly afterwards,” said Mr Wills.
It was in India that Alexander Gray made his fortune in trade and company stocks, having joined the East India Company medical service in Bengal in 1782.
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