Object Title
Portrait of James Arnott Minnes
Object Name
William Malcolm Cutts
Date Made
Oil on Canvas --Wood --Plaster --Gilt
Eminent Figure
James A. Minnes
Catalogue Number

Height 150.3 cm x W 126.0 cm x D 14.0 cm


A nearly full-length portrait of James A. Minnes standing at the front of the picture plane. The subject stands facing forward at a very slight angle, his right shoulder foremost, looking directly at the viewer. He has wavy light brown hair parted in the centre and combed down and back on his head, and he has a light brown moustache and blue eyes. He is wearing a long frock coat over grey trousers, a white collared shirt, and a blue and black striped stock. Minnes wears a substantial double chain of office over his coat, with a round pendant medallion and several other medallions on each chain. His left hand rests on some papers on the desk to his left, and his right hand holds an open letter with a red seal visible in the lower right corner. Behind and to the right of him is a table with a number of books on it, with a dark red drapery behind. Behind and to the left of Minnes is what appears to be a tall dark red chair back. The far background is dark brown in colour. The portrait is signed "W. Cutts. 1900" in red paint in the lower right corner.

The painting is housed in a late 19th or early 20th century wood and gilt plaster frame. Plain back edge; egg-and-dart outer edge, wide bevelled wood frieze to shallow gilt scotia; scallop and scroll top edge, ribbon/band corners; plain gilt shallow scotia and bevel to sight edge.


Born and educated in Kingston, Minnes was part-owner of the wholesale dry goods firm, Macnee & Minnes. Minnes served 11 years with the 14th Battalion Princess of Wales Own Rifles, retiring a captain. A supporter of Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital, Minnes worked to ensure the medical college remained in Kingston. As mayor at the turn of a new century, he presided over many celebrations and was featured in books and articles documenting the state of the ‘Limestone City.’