Famous Henry Callender golf painting sells for £700k

Rod Baker from Royal Blackheath Golf Club at Bonhams Edinburgh, with The Portrait of Henry Callender. Picture: Hemedia
Rod Baker from Royal Blackheath Golf Club at Bonhams Edinburgh, with The Portrait of Henry Callender. Picture: Hemedia
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The world’s most famous golf painting went up for auction yesterday and fetched more than £700,000 to help save the club which owns it.

Titled “The Portrait of Henry Callender”, the painting is regarded as one of the earliest depictions of the gentleman’s game.

It was created by the portraitist Lemuel Francis Abbott, in 1790 and has been hanging in Blackheath Golf Club, London, ever since.

The club decided to sell the painting to raise money to buy the freehold of its course and clubhouse from The Crown Estate and put off any potential developers.

It depicts Henry Callender, an expatriate Scot dressed in the uniform of a Captain General of the Blackheath Society of Golfers. The title of Captain General was an honour bestowed on a member of good standing who is part chairman, secretary, president,politician, and someone whose opinion is asked on any matters of the club.

The painting is considered to be one of the most iconic and familiar golfing images in the world and replicas hang in clubs and private collections around the world. Bidding started at £450,000 and quickly went up - a Bonhams spokesman said the painting was sold to a buyer for £722,500, including premiums and taxes.