Portrait of Lt George Dyer RM

This fine portrait of Lt George Dyer Royal Marines was painted in 1780 by James Northcote (1746-1831), one of the leading portrait painters of his day. Northcote was a pupil and biographer of Sir Joshua Reynolds.  This portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1781. 
 
His subject, George Dyer, was 22 years old when he sat for the portrait. The portrait is unusual as it shows a very young and junior officer of the time, whereas most portraits captured people later in their careers.  It was also painted before King George III bestowed the title ‘Royal’ on his Corps of Marines in 1802.
 
Commissioned into the Marines in 1776, Dyer served during the American War of Independence and in 1794, he took part in the Battle of the Glorious First of June during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was promoted Major in 1805 and served as a recruiter before retiring as Second Colonel Commandant, Plymouth Division in 1816. 
 
The Royal Marines Museum purchased the painting at a Sotheby’s auction in 2003. The painting was previously owned by Sir Elton John. The Museum was assisted in the purchase by generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Art Collections Fund (now The Art Fund).
 

Royal Marines Museum