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Dr Nathaniel (of Craigsanquhar) Spens

Male Bef 1759 - Yes, date unknown


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  • Name Nathaniel (of Craigsanquhar) Spens 
    Prefix Dr 
    Born Bef 1759 
    Gender Male 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I27392  My Genealogy

    Father Thomas (16th of Lathallan) Spens,   b. 9 May 1758,   d. 1800  (Age 41 years) 
    Mother Margaret Hope 
    Family ID F66886  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Milliken,   b. Bef 1759,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 1759 
    Last Modified 24 Jan 2013 
    Family ID F66885  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Nathaniel Spens, M.D. of Edinburgh, younger son of Thomas Spens, the sixteenth laird of Lathallan, purchased in 1792, the estate of Craigsanquhar, Fifeshire, which at one period formed part of Lathallan, but had been disjoined from it in 1524. By his wife, Mary, second daughter of James Milliken, Esq. of Milliken, Renfrewshire, Dr. Spens had James, his heir; Thomas, M.D., fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and first physician to the royal infirmary of that city; two other sons, and a daughter. The eldest son, Lieutenant-colonel James Spens, 73d regiment, became in 1799, proprietor of Craigsanquhar. He was three times married, but had issue only by his third wife, a daughter of John Davidson, Esq. of Ravelrig, Mid Lothian, by his wife, Hannah, sister of Henry Mackenzie, author of 'The Man of Feeling,' and died in 1840. With one daughter, Hannah, Mrs. Monypenny of the Pitmilly family, he had two sons, Nathaniel, his heir, and John, M.D., fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh. The elder son, Nathaniel Spens of Craigsanquhar, born 18th February 1805, became a writer to the signet in 1830. He married 23d January 1840, Miss Janet Law Guild, with issue. His only surviving son, Colin, was born 9th November 1843.



      Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-89) was one of the finest portraitists of the eighteenth century. Liotard creates hazy and vaporous qualities using stumping and rubbing. Being so light and dry, pastel is delicate and fragile. The fact that the portrait of James Milliken is in impeccable condition after seven generations in the one family, is remarkable. The portrait has passed from James Milliken into the Spens family through his sister Mary who married Dr Nathaniel Spens (later Nathaniel Spens of Craigsanquhar) in 1759. James and Mary Milliken's mother was the daughter of William McDowell of Garthland, 16th Baron. Nathaniel Spens is best known as the subject of the famous and strikingly original full length portrait, Dr Nathaniel Spens 1728-1815, (1793) by Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), commissioned by the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland of which he was President (Royal Company of Archers). The Company seems to have accepted its "remarkable originality",8 for they had an engraving produced by subscription. Nathaniel Spens was a younger son of Thomas Spens 16th Baron of Lathallan in Fife9 and Janet Douglas of Glenbervie. Portraits by leading artists of the day were painted and remain in the family; the Liotard is probably the most exceptional.