Portrait of a Gentleman c.1800; Attributed to ...

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John Opie was born in St Agnes, near Truro in 1761. From an early age he showed a talent for drawing, in addition to a more general academic excellence. He soon established a local reputation for portrait painting and was discovered by John Wolcot who introduced him to London as “The Cornish Wonder”. This nickname was mainly due to the fact that he was completely self-taught.
Opie was introduced to London in 1781 as 'the Cornish Wonder'. His style as a portrait painter was marked by strong realism, and striking contrasts of light and dark.

This very fine and insightful portrait was created at the turn of the 18th century, and shows the sitter against a dark background with a hint of a rich drapery to his left. The half-turned head with its dark hair is set against the bright white necktie and waistcoat. The extraordinarily strong presence of the sitter evokes the spirit of Baroque painting during the seventeenth century. It was Opie’s abilities in chiaroscuro which is said to have won the praise of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who reputedly described him as ‘like Caravaggio and Velazquez in one.’ The brooding spirit of early-Romanticism, through the lens of knowledge of the Old Masters is strong in this work.

Born the son of a carpenter in a tin-mining district of Cornwall before being discovered as a child prodigy. His natural gifts in drawing were discovered by Dr John Walcot (1738-1819), whose protection and patronage helped to nurture the boy’s gifts before he was brought to London in 1781 where his works caused great sensation. He quickly received the patronage of the Royal Family alongside leading figures of the nobility and cultural elites. Opie was elected an Association of the Royal Academy in 1786 and was made an RA the following year. His successful portraits of the likes of Mary Delany, Mary Wollstonecraft, Samuel Johnson and Henry Fuseli have become some of the most lasting and iconic images of these sitters. Although also known as an artist of historical and genre scenes, his portraits have received perhaps the most enduring interest and fame since his death. His efforts in portraiture placed him in direct competition to the likes of Thomas Lawrence, James Northcote and Henry Fuseli.

After his death at the age of 45 in 1807 Opie was interred in the crypt of London’s St. Pauls’ Cathedral . This location, in the crypt next to Reynolds, demonstrated the high regard felt for the painter amongst his contemporaries.

CONDITION: in excellent conserved condition apart from a repaired large L-shaped tear to the left of the background. In most lights this is not visible, but, as can be seen in Image 6, under a glancing light it shows. Allowance for this has been made in the asking price.
SIZE: 36 x 31.25 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private London Collection.


Portrait of Sir Robert Anstruther c. 1694, ...

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This forthright and insightful portrait was probably painted when Anstruther was created a baronet in 1694. The artist is as yet unknown; he was obviously aware of the fashionable conceit of a feigned carved stone oval as used by Lely and Beale amongst others, but this no Court painting, it has a Scottish directness and honesty. Sir Robert looks like a man of serious intent and determination.
The frame is a fine carved and giltwood one of the period, almost certainly the original.

SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER, 1st Baronet (1658 – March 1737), of Wrae, Linlithgow, and Balcaskie, Fife, was a Scottish politician who sat in the Parliament of Scotland between 1681 and 1707 and in the British House of Commons from 1709 to 1710.
He was baptised on 24 September 1658, the third son of Sir Philip Anstruther of Anstruther, Fife, a member of the Scottish Parliament, and his wife Christian Lumsden, daughter of Sir James Lumsden of Innergellie, Fife.

Anstruther had an early spell in the Parliament of Scotland as a Burgh Commissioner for Anstruther Easter from 1681 to 1682. He married Sophia Kinnear, the daughter and coheiress of David Kinnear, and adopted the additional name of Kinnear on the death of his father-in law in 1684. Sophia died in 1686 and he married as his second wife Jean Monteith, the daughter and heiress of William Monteith of Wrae, on 12 March 1687. From 1689 to 1690, unlike his brother, he served the regime of King William on various local commissions.
He was caught up in a double returned for Anstruther Easter, and the result was decided against him. He was given a place as one of the general receivers of supply in 1691. He was created a baronet of Wrae, Linlithgowshire and Balcaskie, Fife and Braemore, Caithness on 28 November 1694. In 1696 he was appointed joint farmer of excise, and in 1697 was appointed Clerk and Keeper of Cocquet Seal, Firth of Forth west of Queensferry. He lost at least £500 in the Darien scheme and lost money in the farm of the Scottish excise, but had married two heiresses. He was able to purchase in 1698 an estate at Balcaskie, on the Fife coast where he went on to build a house. He also served as a commissioner to the convention of royal burghs for the neighbouring burgh of Anstruther Easter. He married as his third wife, his cousin Marian Preston, the daughter of Sir William Preston, 2nd Baronet of Valleyfield, Fife.

In 1702 Anstruther became Burgh Commissioner for Anstruther Wester. He opposed the Union and took part in the protests in 1705 against the treaty act. In Parliament he was frequently absent in the divisions on the Union and five of his only six votes were on the opposition side. He probably acted according to the influence of the Court Tory Lord Leven. He lost his seat and his government posts in 1707.

After the union of Scotland with England, Anstruther was returned to the new Parliament of Great Britain as Member of Parliament for Fife at a by-election on 24 March 1709. There was little time for him to make any impression and he did not stand at the 1710 British general election.
Anstruther died in March 1737. He had had five sons and two daughters by his second wife and one son and two daughters by his third wife. One of his sons was killed at the Battle of Preston in 1715 in the first Jacobite Rebellion, and another rose to the rank of general in the service of the Hanoverians. He was succeeded by his eldest son Philip Anstruther.

SIZE: 32.25 x 29.25 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: by family descent to Kilmany House, Fife. Verso: an old handwritten label, mostly illegible, though the sitter's name can be made out.

Portrait of a Gentleman 1666, Attributed to ...

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Oil on canvas; a superb quality portrait in a good 17th century carved and giltwood frame.

This powerful portrait has been known as Richard Cromwell, Oliver's third son, for many years, but, although the sitter bears a resemblance to the second Lord Protector, it is a doubtful attribution.

Looking directly and frankly at the viewer the sitter, almost certainly a military officer, makes no concession to any of the more foppish fashions of the day. He wears his own hair, not a wig, his cravat is simple. His sleeves have a silver thread pattern and over all he wears a breastplate with a buff leather coat beneath.
Although plain, all these items are of good quality...indeed, the young man must have been wealthy in order to commission such a high quality (and therefore expensive) portrait.
The different textures and appearance of all these materials, and the flesh and hair, are exquisitely painted by Hoogstraten.

Upper left, probably added in the 18th or 19th century, is the later inscription 'RICHARD CROMWELL', and to the middle right is another very faint inscription which seems to be contemporary with the portrait 'Aet. 23. Ano. 1666'.
If this date and the sitter's age are correct then it cannot be Cromwell who was born in 1626.

Samuel van Hoogstraten was born in Dordrecht on 2 August 1627. He was first the pupil of his father, then, some time after his father's death in 1640, he entered Rembrandt's studio.
He painted genre scenes and portraits and he is well known as a specialist in perspective effects.
Hoogstraten travelled widely, visiting Rome and Vienna, where he was patronized by the Emperor. He was in London from 1662 to 1666, the time of the Great Fire.
He finally settled in his native town where he was made a Provost of the Mint. He published a book in 1678 "lnleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst" (An Introduction to the Art of Painting), one of the few handbooks on painting published in Holland in that century. He died in Dordrecht on 19 October 1678.

SIZE: 29 x 23.5 inches canvas.
36.5 x 31 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Earl Granard K.P., Castle Forbes, County Longford, Ireland.(see image 6).
Private London Collection.
VERSO: Stencil "Earl of Granard KP Castle Forbes".
Hand written inscription, early 20th c. in appearance: "RICHARD CROMWELL. Painted by Robert Walker died 1659" (Unlikely attribution as the portrait is dated eight years after Walker's death.)


Portrait of a Lady, c.1680; Attributed to ...

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Oil on canvas in a good 17th century carved and giltwood frame.

A fine painting, characteristic of Mary Beale's mature and best period. She presents a sympathetic and insightful view of the sitter. There is a sense of intimacy so that despite the lace and silk the she is not affected or pretentious. Beale saw her, as do we, with a clear gaze.
This is a beautiful portrait painted with the sensitivity that typifies the best of Beale's female portraits, coupled here with a pensive beauty.
The sitter is depicted within a feigned carved stone oval, much used by Sir Peter Lely and William Wissing, and which Beale used so often as to be almost a signature.

MARY BEALE (1633-1699) was born in Barrow, Suffolk, the daughter of John Cradock, a Puritan rector. Her mother, Dorothy, died when she was 10. Her father was an amateur painter, and member of the Painter-Stainers' Company, and she was acquainted with local artists, such as Nathaniel Thach, Matthew Snelling, Robert Walker and Peter Lely. In 1652, at the age of 18, she married Charles Beale, a cloth merchant from London - also an amateur painter.

She became a semi-professional portrait painter in the 1650s and 1660s, working from her home, first in Covent Garden and later in Fleet Street. Mary Beale was not the only female painter in England, but her name alone has survived as that of the only woman to make a successful living, and to enjoy a flourishing practice as a portraitist.
She became reacquainted with Sir Peter Lely, now Court Artist to Charles II. Her later work is heavily influenced by Lely, being mainly small portraits. He was Beale’s strongest artistic supporter. The friendship between Lely and Mary Beale enabled her, famously, to observe the master in the act of painting – a remarkable privilege – in order to study his technique. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that many of her portraits have been misattributed to Lely or his Studio .She was widely reckoned to be Van Dyck's most accomplished copyist. Her grasp of Lely's colouring is evident, but the pleasant and direct manner in which she treats her sitters is entirely her own.

SIZE: 35 x 29.25 inches framed.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Kent; the previous owner now resident in South America.


Portrait of a Lady c.1695; Circle of ...

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Oil on canvas in a period carved and gitwood frame.

Our portrait captures superbly the ostensibly modest yet seductive character of the sitter..
It is a good example of the way that Dahl and his Circle eloquently depicted aristocratic women. In terms of both draughtmanship and pose, Dahl's female portraits are noticeably softer and gentler than Kneller's, and thus allow for a greater versatility in the expression of feminine beauty.
Dahl's works are frequently distinguished by a greater attention to the character of the sitter than those of his rivals, and he particularly allowed a softer aspect to the surfaces of his sitter's costume and drapery. His colours are silvered and luminous, and there is a great charm and sensitivity in the overall expression of the sitter. In this example, the drapery and sitter's turned head impact a subtle sense of movement. She wears the headcloth often seen in Dahl's portraits at this period; her gown is fashionably revealing, the supposedly modest drape of diaphanous material over her decolletage conceals little.

MICHAEL DAHL (1659-1743) was a painter of exceptional talent and regarded as the only really serious rival to Sir Godfrey Kneller, for royal patronage, during the years 1690-1714. Dahl's patterns were undoubtedly indebted to the fashion set by Kneller, but Dahl had a lighter palette, and his brushwork applied in shorter and more careful strokes.
His self portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and he is famed for having painted a series of wonderful female portraits for the Duke of Somerset, now at Petworth House, and known as the Petworth Beauties.
Dahl's portraits of members of the royal family hang at Kensington Palace and Windsor and other examples of his work can be found at the Tate and National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

SIZE: 37.5 x 32.25 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Old private collection in south Herefordshire. Deceased estate.


Portrait of a Boy with his Pets ...

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Oil on canvas in decorative frame.

An utterly charming naive portrait in which the animals almost have a cartoon quality.
The young boy firmly clutches a whistle and looks out as if lost in thought; meanwhile the cat and the spaniel stare fixedly at each other.
This portrait has such a feeling of humour that it makes the viewer smile.

SIZE: 35 x 29 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE:From a Cambridgeshire country house.

Portrait of Diana Connell c.1948-50, by John ...

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Oil on canvas in the original frame. Signed, lower right 'Gilroy'.

The attractive young sitter, Diana Connell, smiling and looking confidently to her right, is dressed for an evening function.
The portrait is painted, as was often the fashion at this time, on a rather coarse canvas, giving an added texture to the painting. The frame is the original one and the canvas remains unlined; a clean and re-varnish was all that was necessary to bring these glowing colours back to life.
This is an excellent portrait and fully redolent of its time .. the Second World War was over and people, especially the young, looked forward to a brighter and better time.

JOHN THOMAS YOUNG GILROY (30 May 1898 – 11 April 1985) was an English artist, portraitist and illustrator, best known for his advertising posters for Guinness, the Irish stout. He signed many of his works, simply, "Gilroy".
Born in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England, Gilroy attended Durham University until his studies were interrupted by World War I, during which he served with the Royal Field Artillery. He resumed studying at the Royal College of Art in London, where he remained as a teacher. He taught at Camberwell College of Arts.
In 1925, he gained employment at S.H. Benson's advertising agency, where he created the iconic advertisement art for Guinness featuring the Zoo Keeper and animals enjoying Guinness. He worked with Dorothy L. Sayers. He created cover designs for the Radio Times, most famously, in 1936, one depicting a laughing cat.

He was also an accomplished portrait painter, numbering royalty, politicians, actors and many others amongst his sitters. He worked in his large studio at 10 Holland Park, London, the former home and studio of Sir Bernard Partridge.

He was a long-standing and much loved member of the Garrick Club, where he was created a Life Member and Chairman of the Works of Art Committee 1970–1975. He was awarded and Honorary MA by Newcastle University in 1975, and was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1981

He married twice. First, in 1924, to Gwendoline Short, an artist like himself. They had one son - John Morritt in 1927. His second marriage, in 1950, was to Elizabeth Margaret Outram Bramley.

SIZE: 47 x 37 x 2.75 inches including frame.
PROVENANCE: by descent.
Old inscriptions and labels verso.

Portrait of a Young Boy and his ...

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Oil on canvas now in a 19th c. gilt frame.

A pleasing Georgian portrait of a young boy still 'unbreeched'.
Breeching was the occasion when a small boy was first dressed in breeches or trousers. From the mid-16th century until the late 19th or early 20th century, young boys in the Western world were unbreeched and wore gowns or dresses until the age of seven or eight. Breeching was an important rite of passage in the life of a boy, looked forward to with much excitement. It often marked the point at which the father became more involved with the raising of a boy.

The signs that the sitter is a boy and not a girl are the short hair and the dog being active rather than docile by the side of the sitter.
The rose buds are a symbol for youth and its fleeting nature and the dog, although probably a pet, also represents fidelity and trustworthiness.

The artist is at yet not known, but he seems to have been influenced by the work of Thomas Beach (1738-1806) who was the favourite pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Beach was based in Bath but travelled round Dorset and Somerset painting portraits.

SIZE: 28.5 x 24.5 inches inc. frame.

Private Collection, Sussex.


Portrait Of A Gentleman C.1765, Said To ...

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Oil on canvas in a 19th century giltwood frame.
The sitter looks confidently out at the viewer....the very model of a fashionably and expensively dressed gentleman of the mid Georgian era.
There is an elegant swagger to the pose, but no bluster; a gracious dignity was paramount at this time. As was the fashion he wears a subdued coat, but a highly decorated waistcoat and fine lace.
THOMAS HUDSON (1701 – 26 January 1779) was an English portrait painter.
Hudson was born in Devon in 1701.His exact birthplace is unknown. He studied under Jonathan Richardson in London and against his wishes, married Richardson's daughter at some point before 1725.
Hudson was most prolific between 1740 and 1760 and, from 1745 until 1755 was the most successful London portraitist.
He had many assistants, and employed the specialist drapery painter Joseph Van Aken. Joshua Reynolds, Joseph Wright and the drapery painter Peter Toms were his students.
SIZE: 37.25 x 32.50 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: Herefordshire private collection.
Internal Ref: 9184

Portrait of Mary Dodding 1677, by John ...

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Oil on canvas in a gilt reproduction frame of correct type.
This is a very high quality portrait typical of Wright's fine and sensitive work, with the haunting sense of character that Wright conveys. He would appear to have been far more interested in conveying intelligence than rivals such as Lely, and here, as always, we sense that the sitter is of an alert and enquiring mind.
Inscribed upper left "Mary, Daughter of George Dodding Esq. A.D. 1677."
This is almost certainly a portrait painted to mark Mary's marriage to Thomas Preston.

The surname Dodding was first found in Somerset at Doddington, which predates the Norman Conquest dating back to c. 975 when it was first listed as Dundingtune. By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, the village was known as Dodington.
There are other places similarly named in the Domesday Book but this is the only pre-Conquest village making it of Saxon origin. In early days, some of the family were found much further north in Cumberland at Kirk-Oswald where the estates of Kirk-Oswald were granted by Elizabeth I to the Dodding family.

MARY DODDING was the daughter of George Dodding Esq. of Conishead Priory; he was the son of Colonel George Dodding, (who had raised and commanded one of the Lancashire Regiments of Foot for Parliament during the Civil War, mainly recruited around Cartmel and Grange-over-Sands)
Colonel Dodding was the son of Miles Dodding Esq, of Conishead Priory, Lancashire.

Mary married Thomas Preston M.P. for Lancaster in, it is thought, 1677. Thomas was born in 1646 and died in 1697. He is buried at Cartmel, Cumbria. Mary's birth and death dates are not known, but the marriage was brief as Thomas married again and had two children from that union. There were no offspring from his earlier marriage, so it is very probable that Mary died in childbirth as was very common.

JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT (May 1617 – July 1694) was a portrait painter in the Baroque style. Described variously as English and Scottish, Wright trained in Edinburgh under the Scots painter George Jamesone, and acquired a considerable reputation as an artist and scholar during a long sojourn in Rome. There he was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca, and was associated with some of the leading artists of his generation. He was engaged by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, to acquire artworks in Oliver Cromwell's England in 1655. He took up permanent residence in England from 1656, and served as Court Painter before and after the English Restoration. He was a favourite of the restored Stuart court, a client of both Charles II and James II, and was a witness to many of the political manoeuvres of the era.
Wright is currently rated as one of the leading indigenous British painters of his generation, largely for the distinctive realism in his portraiture. Perhaps due to the unusually cosmopolitan nature of his experience, he was favoured by patrons at the highest level of society in an age in which foreign artists were usually preferred. Wright's paintings of royalty, aristocracy and gentry are included amongst the collections of many leading galleries today.

SIZE: 35.25 x 30.25 inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: latterly in a private collection in Sidmouth, Devon.


Portrait of Betty Fitzwarren; Studio of Sir ...

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Oil on canvas in a fine 18th century carved and giltwood frame.

The attractive young sitter has always been known as Betty Fitzwarren; there is a strong possibility that she was born Lady Elizabeth Bourchier in 1622, died 22 Sept 1670, eldest daughter of 4th Earl of Bath, of Tawstock, Devon
She married (8 July, 1641), as his third wife, Basil Feilding, 2nd Earl of Denbigh, of Newnham Paddox, Warwickshire.

As her husband attempted to navigate the treacherous waters of Civil War and Restoration, she wrote him numerous letters which survive (some transcribed in the book "Royalist Father & Roundhead Son", the full text of which can be found on the internet), and include passionate postscripts such as "a hundred thousand thousand kisses I give thee" and "Dear! how thy Betty loves thee!" The book also describes the elaborate arrangements made by the Earl for her funeral.

Backtracking slightly, her father had died in 1637, leaving Elizabeth and her two sisters, but no sons; so a cousin became the 5th Earl and it was no doubt he and his wife (Lady Rachel Fane) who looked after the three girls and secured for them advantageous marriages (an Earl apiece). Interestingly the household accounts of the Earl and Countess for the period from 1637 survive and record numerous payments for portraits made to Geldorp, Van Dyck and Lely [see Wikipedia entry for 5th Earl of Bath].

The 4th Earl was also Lord Fitzwarren, a subsidiary title of great antiquity created in 1295 for Fulk FitzWarin, a Marcher Lord from Oswestry. Unlike later titles, ancient baronies created by writ descend by cognatic primogeniture, such that this prestigious title did not pass with the Earldom but remained vested in the three daughters and their heirs. It seems a strong possibility that Elizabeth might be referred to as "Betty Fitzwarren"...the affectionate diminutive was much in vogue at the time.

SIR PETER LELY (1618 - 1680) was the most important portraitist in the reign of Charles ll, although he had painted portraits throughout the Commonwealth. Principal Painter to the King, he painted everyone of importance, maintaining a busy and active Studio to help with the huge demand for his portraits. Members of his Studio, many of them talented artists in their own right, emulated his style to supply this constant market.

SIZE: 37.5 x 32 x 2.25 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: Australian Private Collection for a number of years.

Portrait of a Young Lady as Diana ...

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Oil on panel in 18th c. gilt frame.
The elaborate gilt frame presents this lovely little portrait like a jewel in a rich gold setting.

The young sitter is depicted in an open landscape.
This beautifully executed portrait captures the shimmering quality of the sitter's garments...the silk, fine linen and delicate gauze all compliment the delicacy with which the girl's face is painted.

The fashionably, and expensively, dressed young lady is depicted as Diana the Huntress, goddess of the hunt, moon and birthing.
The sitter holds a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other.
The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connection with light, inaccessibility, purity and virginity; all desirable attributes for a girl who was on the marriage market.

JAN MYTENS (1614-1670) worked in The Hague as a portrait painter for over thirty years painting those loyal to the House of Orange as well as a number of British visitors. His work was much admired and he was very influential in Dutch portraiture.

Dutch family of painters of Flemish origin. The earliest known artist of this family was Aert Mijtens (1541-1602), a history and portrait painter who worked in Naples and Rome. His brother Martin Mijtens, a saddle and coach-maker, fled to the northern Netherlands and had two sons who also became painters: Daniel Mijtens I, who was prominent in England for a period as a portrait painter in the Stuart court, and Isaac Mijtens (c. 1602-1666), a portrait painter in The Hague. Jan Mijtens was a nephew of these brothers and father of the portrait painter Daniel Mijtens II (1644-1688). Martin Mijtens I, himself a son of Isaac, moved to Sweden where he worked as a portrait painter in Stockholm, while his son Martin van Meytens II later became a portrait painter at the imperial court in Vienna. Several other minor members of the Mijtens family established reputations as painters.

SIZE: panel 17 x 13 inches.
Frame: 24 x 20.5 inches
PROVENANCE: *English Private Collection.
*With Roy Precious Fine Art.
*Collection of a Fellow of a Cambridge College.