Object Title
Portrait of George Davidson
Object Name
William Sawyer
Date Made
Oil on Canvas --Wood
Eminent Figure
George Davidson
Catalogue Number

H 143.51 cm x W 119.38 cm x D 12.7 cm


A 3/4 length portrait of George Davidson sitting in a red-upholstered dark wood chair. He sits and an oblique angle, his left leg crossed over the right at the knee, with his knees in the lower left corner of the picture plane and his head turned towards the viewer. He holds a paper open in his lap with his left hand, his right hand is not visible. The figure has medium-length dark hair, and light hazel eyes. He is wearing a long black topcoat, black trousers, a black waistcoat, and a white collared shirt with a white bowtie. He wears a gold chain of office, looped up and fastened to his coat button. The figure is seated in front of a plain tan-coloured background with a pilaster on the back wall. The painting is signed "W. Sawyer_ 1861" in dark red paint in the lower left corner.

The painting is house din a mid 19th century gilt wood and plaster frame. Plain back edge; bead and flower outer edge, plain scotia; honeysuckle corners with foliate embellishments, crown-like outer corner, and foliate vines at sides on top edge, with elaborate acanthus and foliate side centres and simple acanthus top centre on swept rail; astragal, foliate bead, and cover to sight edge. Folated spandrels in top corners.


George Davidson was from Roxloughshire, Scotland, Kingston’s first Scottish-born mayor. A prominent citizen, he was a successful municipal politician and businessman, including being part-proprietor of the Kingston Foundry. In 1846, Davidson was awarded the contract for the construction of the Murney Tower by promising he could complete the work in half the time allotted. Construction was completed to plan. The tower was part of the local defence system against potential American invasion, a threat lessened with the signing of the Oregon Treaty on June 15, 1846.