A VICTORIAN oil painting of an army officer is expected to fetch almost £3,000 at auction later this month – almost 200 years after the Blackburn artist who painted it was born.

The Robert Crozier canvas, entitled Lt Colonel Thomas Marten, Dragoons, dates back to 1843, when the painter lived in Manchester.


Experts at Drewatts and Bloomsbury Auctions have valued the item at between £2,000 and £3,000.

Mr Crozier was born in Blackburn on October 17, 1815, and was baptised in Chapel Street the next month.

The painting is up for grabs at the Berkshire-based auctioneers’ Fine Pictures Sale on March 25.

Mr Crozier, the son of George Crozier, a Blackburn saddler and leading amateur botanist, spent the first ten years of his life in the town, before moving to Bolton, Warrington, and then Manchester.

The painting shows Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Marten, who served in the 1st Dragoons campaign in Ireland from 1835, retired briefly, and then resumed command of the Royal Dragoons in 1839 to deal with the Chartist riots in Sheffield.

A Drewatts spokesman said: “It is appropriate that the picture is up for sale this year, because this year marks the 200th anniversary of Robert Crozier’s birth in Blackburn.

“His papers and correspondence – including letters to Crozier from distinguished artists, such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and George Frederic Watts – are stored at the John Rylands University Library at the University of Manchester.”

Mr Crozier trained as an apprentice coach painter under William Maskey in Warrington, also studied under John Kitchingham, a teacher of drawing, grammar, painting and botany.

The Drewatts spokesman added: “Crozier first exhibited at the Royal Manchester Institution in 1841, and the Royal Academy in 1854, but it was the success of the Exhibition of Works of Local Artists at Peel Park, Salford, in 1857, that encouraged Crozier and others to set up the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts in 1859.”

Mr Crozier went on to become president of the Academy in 1878, a position he retained until one month before his death in February 1891.

The lot, which measures 58.5 centimetres by 74 centimetres, is described as: “Relined. Fine craquelure throughout, with scattered retouching visible under UV light. One or two small areas of pigment loss. May benefit from a light clean.”