Smart, John portrait of General Thomas Bruce

This month sees the fortunate addition to the collection of a miniature portrait by the famous miniature painter John Smart (1742/3-1811).

The sitter is identified on the rear as General Bruce and on the left front is signed "JS 1778" (apologies for the reflection). As it is on paper and hence fragile, I was reluctant to remove it from the frame to photograph, after more than 200 years unopened.

The purchase of this miniature does illustrate how it is possible to find miniatures by important artists at bargain prices, even if not very often. It is just necessary to gradually keep on accumulating knowledge and keeping one's eyes open for any opportunities that may arise. 

The miniature was one of 30 miniatures offered at an auction 400 miles away, so one for which it was necessary to make absentee bids. The other miniatures were of good average quality, but this one was not really rated by the auctioneer, being described only as; English School of General Bruce initialled & dated 'TS/1778'(?), painted on paper, ebonised fruitwood frame $200-400.

However, from the catalogue photo it appeared recognisable as a John Smart. On 10 June 2010 Christie's in London auctioned ten similar John Smart miniatures on paper which aggregated nearly £120,000, an average hammer price of £12,000 each. Hence it would not have been surprising if this one had sold well, for more than could have been afforded for this collection. With only a small photo in the auction catalogue, and being unable to actually view the miniature, it was difficult to be sure that it was a Smart, hence a relatively modest limit bid of $1200 was made, more in hope than expectation.  That faint hope was realised far below expectation, with the successful hammer price being $350.

Research into the sitter has since revealed him as General Thomas Bruce (1738 – 12 December 1797), a British soldier and politician, and the third son of William Bruce, 8th Earl of Kincardine. He was the Member of Parliament for Marlborough, 22 June 1790 – 30 May 1796, and Great Bedwyn, 28 May 1796 – 12 December 1797. He died at Exeter and is buried in the Lady Chapel at Exeter Cathedral, where he is described as Lieut General Thomas Bruce Colonel of the 16th regiment of foot and uncle of the Earl of Elgin, 1797. The army preferments of June 1786 record his promotion:"The Hon. Major General Thomas Bruce to be resident major general on the staff of Ireland vice Major General St Leger dec." 1460

The collection also includes these two identical bronze medals of miniature painter John Smart. The reverse is blank in both cases. In her book about John Smart, Daphne Foskett comments on the medal as follows.

"A medal bearing his portrait, modelled by Joachim Smith and cut by John Kirk, of which there are several versions, was struck in 1777, no doubt to celebrate the year he became Vice-President. At least two silver medals are known to exist, one engraved on the back "September 22, 1798". Several were struck in bronze, one in my own collection having "Sarah Neale" engraved on the reverse, and at least one has come to my attention made of a silver alloy."

The pair were purchased several years apart and it is not known how many more examples are in existence, but the medals do seem to be quite rare. 681

Unknown - portrait of Percy Shelley

This is a rare miniature portrait of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). He was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron. The novelist Mary Shelley was his second wife.

The miniature is in a contemporary frame which is inscribed "Percy B Shelley 1792-1822". The writing style appears to be consistent with a date of around 1825.

The miniature was acquired via a dealer who had purchased it as part of a New York collection including quality miniatures by artists such as George Engleheart. The owner of the collection had previously contacted me about a possible sale of the collection, but I advised it was too large and valuable for me to be able to contemplate making an offer. I therefore recommended a dealer who could handle the total collection.

Following this the dealer split up and sold the collection, with this miniature offered on eBay, where it was acquired for this Artists and Ancestors collection. The previous owner advised that the miniature had been acquired from a New York dealer around 1970.

I concede that I am unable to categorically state it is an original portrait of Shelley. There are very few known portraits of Percy Shelley, with many examples based upon the oil portrait showing below. I have been unable to find another portrait of Shelley in the same pose as in this miniature.

That suggests it is either genuine, an artist's impression, or a portrait of another man housed in a case inscribed to Shelley. It seems unlikely that an artist would create an impression so different to the known portraits of Shelley. It also seems unlikely that a case such as this would be made and inscribed without including a portrait of Shelley. The artist is not recognisable as one of the more important artists of the early 19C, so there is little help from that aspect.

Adding to speculation is that Shelley was from a wealthy family and the commissioning of miniature portraits of family members by wealthy families was the norm in the early 19C. Hence, it is to be expected that there would have been at least one miniature portrait of Shelley as a young man.

The tousled hair fits with known portraits of Shelley, as does the nose and mouth. The sitter has blue or grey eyes, which fits with the oil portrait of Shelley when viewed closely. The age of the sitter in this portrait is to be that of a man aged 16 to 20, wearing clothes with high collars, which dates it to around 1810. It therefore appears to be a formal portrait of a young man, painted for family use, in the case of Shelley before he adopted an "open shirt" look.

Thus, the portrait is displayed as likely a genuine miniature of Percy Shelley, with comments welcomed from Shelley scholars. 1382

Other portraits in this collection connected to Percy Shelley include Hellen Shelley (sometimes Helen Shelley) View and Lord Byron View

The artist for this miniature is unknown, but the portrait is identified as Helen Shelley (1755-1839) who married Robert Parker (b.1754, wed 1782, buried at Bath 1837) of Bath. That Helen Shelley was sister of Sir Timothy Shelley, the father of Percy Bysshe Shelley and thus she was aunt to the famous poet.

However, her youth, the empire line dress, and her hair in the portrait are wrong for that Helen Shelley, as they date closer to 1820. Thus it is likely she is instead Hellen Shelley (1799-10 May 1885), sister of Percy Bysshe Shelley, as she appears aged about 20 in the portrait.

A likeness endorsing the miniature as being of the later Hellen Shelley is apparent in this miniature portrait on card, in the Bodleian Library, of sisters Hellen Shelley (1799-1885), on the left, and Margaret Shelley (1801-1887) which was painted by Sir William Charles Ross. From their hairstyles and dresses, it dates to the 1850's, and the nose, mouth, and complexion of Hellen are similar in those depicted in the miniature. Given their ages by 1850, Ross has flattered them a little.

Thomas Jefferson Hog refers to the miniature in a letter he wrote to Lady Shelley on 12 December 1857 after meeting Hellen and Margaret Shelley:
There is some thing weird about them; as there ought to be. So tall, so thin, so straight; such little round hands, such little faces, small features, & large, wild, staring eyes, like Bysshe; at once young & old, but rather young, than old! They are fit sisters for a poet & a necromancer. – The miniature is like & unlike; to common apprehensions it is like, but it does not make them look sufficiently like Enchantresses; they do not look in the portrait, as if they were able to turn you into a milk-white kid, & Percy into a statue of black marble, no doubt, they c.d do easily if they pleased.

In the 1860s, the then, Sir Percy Shelley, took a photograph of Lady Shelley and Hellen and Margaret Shelley sitting together at Boscombe. On the back of the photograph he wrote: ‘Miss Shelley (Hellen) very fair, blue eyes, and tall, very slim. Miss Margaret Shelley, deep blue eyes, dark hair, and shorter than her sister,’

It is not uncommon for family members to confuse verbally passed down family history and mix the generations when later adding a written note to a family portrait, especially where a name is repeated. The mistake can arise one or more generations either earlier or later, than depicted in a given portrait, with the error becoming apparent during research which shows the hair or costume do not fit a nominated sitter.

For example, it may be known in 1840 that a young man in a painting depicts William Bloggs (1820-1890), son of William Bloggs (1795-1860) and grandson of William Bloggs (1770-1850). But by, say 1910, the verbally passed on relationships can become mixed and the family records the sitter as the wrong William Bloggs.

In this instance, it appears the family knew it was a Helen Shelley, but later noted the wrong generation on the reverse, showing her as Helen Shelley, sister of Sir Timothy Shelley, instead as Hellen Shelley, sister of Percy Shelley.

Also connected to the Shelley family is this rare miniature portrait, one of several Byron portraits in the collection. It is painted in enamels. On the reverse it is inscribed "Byron after T Phillips R.A. Aug 1849 Painted by Henry P Bone Enamel Painter to Her Majesty H.R.H Prince Albert & etc, & etc."

As a result of fresh research it has been possible to show Byron was related by marriage to Sir Anthony Carlisle. The stepmother of Carlisle's wife Martha, Anne Trevanion, being widow of Byron's great uncle, William Trevanion. This relationship had not previously been noted by Byron scholars.

It is an important relationship, although only a minor aspect in a comprehensive case demonstrating that Carlisle's research into reviving the recently deceased was inspiration for Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein, in her famous novel Frankenstein.


Unknown - portrait of Mrs Robert Owen and family

Some basic research has revealed that this impressively framed miniature portrait had bounced around between various auction houses before ending up in this collection.

The most recent vendor described it on eBay as;

While the artist was very competent, it is admitted he/she was not of the top echelon, with its appeal for the Artists and Ancestors collection being as a representative of its extremely large size.

It is probably the largest miniature portrait on ivory in the collection, with a sight size of 180mm x 130mm. The warping referred to is inconsequential, given the size, but it may have put off other bidders for the portrait. It is very rare for miniatures to be as large as this, and even rarer for them to survive without stress fractures for so long.

There is no sign of a signature on the front, but has not been taken out of the frame. Normally, removal from the frame and cleaning of the glass is one of the first things done, and that very occasionally reveals a signature. However, the frame is nailed together and it does not warrant the risk of taking it apart.

Although the miniature is clearly inscribed at the base "Mrs Robert Owen (Anna Maria, Dau. of John Gaulter), Her Daughter, Sophia and Son, John Gaulter Owen" it has not been possible to find out a great deal about the family. The portrait clearly illustrates the 19C practice of young boys being clothed in dresses. The convention for portraiture being to depict girls with a doll or flowers, and a boy with a hoop or a whip.

The auction description described it as being 1830, but that is a little early. Based upon the apparent age of the boy and his birth in 1843, the miniature was more likely painted around 1838. It is therefore helpful to be able to date the costumes and fashions so precisely.

From the IGI, Ann seems likely to be the Ann Goulter christened on 8 July 1821 at Morden, Surrey, England, with her father being the Rev John Gaulter (1765-1839) who was born in Chester. He entered the "itinerancy" preaching circuit in 1785 and exercised an active circuit ministry until he was forced into superannuation by a stroke in 1835. He was probably the one referred to in;

It may be that Ann's father joined the Methodist persuasion, and so the family is largely absent from parish records for the Church of England, which makes it more difficult to trace them. However, there is a record of John Gaulter Owen in the Sonning parish magazine for St Andrews, on 5 May 1869 where he was married to Ann Baylis, of Woodley. The death of John Gaulter Owen is recorded at St George Hanover Square, London in January, 1871, with his birth year given as 1843.

An apparent reference to the family is in Manchester.
Market Street at that time possessed four druggist's shops, their owners being Stocks and Dentith, Daniel Lynch, Robert Halstead Hargreaves, and Jewsbury and Whitlow. The most popular street with druggists was Piccadilly, which then contained six, two of the number being sons of Wesleyan ministers. The first shop which was so long occupied by Mr. Standring, and which has only just been pulled down to widen the entrance to Tib Street, was then occupied by Mr. John Williams Gaulter. His father was the Rev. John Gaulter, who in the early part of his career was a contemporary of Wesley, at which time his name used to be spelt Gaultier. In my early days he resided for a time in Manchester, and I remember his tall and handsome figure and venerable appearance, dressed in the costume of the day with knee breeches, black stockings, and silver knee-buckles. His son was a very gentlemanly man, and began business about the year 18 12. When I first knew him his assistant was Mr. L. Simpson, who afterwards began business in Princess Street, his shop being the first opened in that street. It was thought at the time to be rather a rash undertaking, but it succeeded. He retired many years ago, when he disposed of his business to Messrs. Ransome and Co.

Previous to this, Gaulter had two apprentices named Jewsbury and Whitlow, who ultimately went into partnership, beginning business about the year 1825, in the shop over the door of which the name of one of the partners is still retained It was one of three or four which had just been rebuilt, and were then called " Egyptian Buildings.'' Mr. Jewsbury's father was a yam agent, and also agent for the West of England Insurance Company, and was the father of the two authoresses. Miss Jewsbury (afterwards Mrs. Fletcher), who died in India, and Miss Geraldine Jewsbury, the novelist.

Prices of miniatures are infrequently quoted here, but are relevant here as part of the provenance. It was offered by Mellors and Kirk, at a Fine Art Sale on Thursday 1st / Friday 2nd July 2010 as;
Lot 884. ENGLISH SCHOOL, MID 19TH CENTURY - A LADY SAID TO BE ANNA MARIA MRS ROBERT OWEN NEE GAULTER, HER DAUGHTER SOPHIA AND SON JOHN GAULTER OWEN - landscape beyond, ivory, arched top, 18.5 x 13cm, ormolu frame, in velevet lined and glazed box-frame. The support very slightly warped as to be expected given the large size but not split or restored. The frame in the original gilding with some slight surface dirt, the box frame in good condition with small corner chip. Estimate was £400-600, but it remained unsold.

It was then sold at Bamfords 13 October 2010 for £360 plus buyer's commission, as below;
Lot 1943 English School, 19th century, portrait of Mrs Robert Owen (Anna Maria, Dau. of John Gaulter), Her Daughter Sophia and Son John Gaulter Owen, watercolour on ivory, 18cm x 13cm, ormolu slip, rosewood outer frame, 30.5cm x 26cm.

Next it was was originally offered on eBay for £850 closing on 5 Jun 2011, with a bid of £600 refused. Then re-offered as a Buy It Now for £500 and purchased for this collection.

Thus it has had a chequered sale history until acquired for this collection! Research is continuing and any further information about the family would be welcomed as a comment or as an email. 1423

Later, a kind visitor has sent me the following additional information;
Anna Maria Gaulter
Born - 1811 Manchester, Lancashire, England

Marriage - Robert Owen - December 21, 1839, Kensington, London, England

Her father was John Gaulter (1766-1839), but her mother is unknown. In 1861 she was listed as living at St. George Hanover Square, Middlesex, England.

There are a lot of Robert Owens, but if we have the correct one for her husband, he was Robert Owen born April 1, 1794 at Fachddeiliog, Llangower, Merionethshire and died May 9, 1853 - 95 New Bond Street, London, Middlesex. His parents were Owen Owen (1754-1834) and Ann Edwards (1763-1838), with their residence in 1841 at New Bond Street, London. Presumably the same residence in 1851, at the time of his death - 95 New Bond Street. His bequest to his wife was under 100 Pounds.

The daughter of Robert and Anna Maria Owen was Sophia Elizabeth Owen born December 1840 - St. George Hanover Square, London, and died December 31, 1869 at 9 Islip Street, Kentish Town, St. Pancras, London, England. Sophia appears not to have married. Her brother was John Gaulter Owen, born July 10, 1842 at 95 New Bond Street, London, Middlesex and died March 3, 1871 at St George Hanover Square. As noted above he married Ann Baylis (1843- ), but there is no indication of any children. It therefore appears that this branch of the Owen family has died out.

Later, a kind researcher has supplied the following extra information;
Anna Maria died 26th July 1865 and was buried on 31st July 1865 at Kensal Green, Kensington and Chelsea (I suppose with her husband who is also buried at that cemetery). Her probate date was 19th November 1866 and mentions her son John Gaulter Owen of 47 Burlington Road, Westbourne Park, Middlesex “Gentleman”. (He was a wine merchant’s clerk). She was described as a widow of 24 Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, Middlesex.

I have a copy of Robert Owen’s Will but it is very brief and doesn’t give very much information about the family. On the web I’ve seen (National Archives) mention of his insurance for 95 New Bond Street in 1831 (or for his East India Warehouse?).

Thus it seems that Robert Owen was a merchant.

Later again - A kind visitor has advised the following;
I am indebted to you for this post. Robert Owen was a nineteenth-century ‘curiosity dealer’ whose East India Warehouse at 95 New Bond Street sold shawls, fabrics, porcelain and furnishings to clients like William Lowther, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale and George IV (to whom he sold porcelain and furniture - see the Royal Collection online for examples). He purchased at many of the 19th-century celebrity sales including those for Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill and that at Stowe. The prices he charged were ambitious and not all he sold was quite what it purported to be - plus ca change. 
I’m researching early 19th-century dealers so it was hugely exciting for me to see this little miniature. Owen was probably involved in porcelain redecorating so a miniature like this could easily have been commissioned by him.

William Essex and William Bishop Ford - Impudence

Recently, A tiny enamel miniature by William Bishop Ford was added to the collection. But that has now been "exceeded" in miniature by a similar miniature of the same subject by William Essex (1784-1869). It is hard to give an impression of how small these miniature portraits are. The Essex one is smaller and is only 11mm in diameter, with the Ford example being 16mm in diameter, about the size of a little fingernail. They are shown in a single image to show the relative sizes.

The Essex miniature is signed on the reverse "W Essex 1862" and was painted in enamel, probably onto a copper base. It is set into a small hinged band, perhaps for a lady's scarf or man's cravat. The band is housed in the original red leather box, which is unmarked. As with the Ford miniature, the dog depicted is "Impudence" originally painted by Sir Edwin Landseer.

The Ford miniature is signed in the reverse "W B Ford 1866" and was painted in enamel directly on a gold base by William Bishop Ford (1832-1922). He was born in London 3 May, 1832, the son of Michael and Agnes Ford.

Ford was a student of William Essex who also painted miniatures of dogs and other animals. Many of the miniatures were worn set in tiepins or brooches, and they still exist in relatively large numbers.

The Ford example is a delightful portrait miniature of enamel over gold of "Impudence" after the famous Landseer painting "Dignity and Impudence" (see also the portrait of Dignity below). In the original, now in the Tate Collection, Landseer contrasts the large, dignified bloodhound with the small, mischievous terrier. These dogs, 'Grafton' and 'Scratch' were both owned by Landseer's friend, Jacob Bell, who commissioned the painting and bequeathed it to The Tate in 1859.

In 1839, William Essex was appointed Enamel Painter in Ordinary to Princess Augusta, Queen Victoria and HRH Prince Albert. Queen Victoria was said to be greatly enamored by the Landseer painting, hence her enamel painter copied the West Highland White Terrier in miniature. Essex served as master for several artists, including Ford, who would become famous in their own rights. Essex's miniatures of dogs are highly sought after and very scarce.

Although it is not of a person, I had wanted to have an example of one of these tiny miniatures in the collection, but the prices for such miniatures are so high, I could not begin to justify the expense for something so small.

For example, although it did not sell, there was recently a similar sized miniature of a fox by William Essex for sale on eBay for $1250.

One by WB Ford of a dog, for sale on the Internet for $999, is described as;
"A lovely 14k gold and enamel pin by William Bishop Ford. Ford was a specialist painter of miniature enamels, he was a pupil and assistant of William Essex who was famous for his dog enamels. In 1839, William Essex was appointed Enamel Painter in Ordinary to Princess Augusta, Queen Victoria and HRH Prince Albert. Pin is in good condition. Measures 1 3/8" in diameter. Minor scratching. Gold not hallmarked. Bezel tested as 14k. Pin on the back tested as 9k. Signed and dated 1884. The dog's eyes will melt your heart. Item #6059 - $999.00"

At that price it would also melt your wallet!

Another WB Ford miniature of a dog is on offer on the Internet for $1250, described as;
The Victorians believed that no house was a home without a dog or cat in residence and jewelry was often designed to include an image of a cherished pet. Here we have a classic example of a miniature enamel by William Bishop Ford. While not as well-known as contemporaries J. W. Bailey and William Essex, he was a specialist painter of miniature enamels and studied under Essex. He typically painted enamel onto porcelain, copper and gold and did work for the Minton porcelain company displayed at the 1885 Paris Exhibition. Against an enamel backdrop the color of dusty olive green, a carefully executed portrait of a Manchester terrier or Miniature Pinscher dog glows with rich shadings of mahogany-red enamel and black. Realistically rendered wedge-shaped head and v-shaped ears, the small oblong eyes clearly convey intelligence, a lively personality and undying loyalty. Even the texture of the sleek and shiny coat is apparent. The miniature has been set into a gold twisted wire mount. The pin is original and of gilded metal. Signed on the reverse “WB Ford 1873”.

Thus, it was pleasing to buy this unset example on eBay for £90. It was obviously set as a tiepin at sometime in the past, as it has glue residue on the reverse, but even though the setting is missing, it is a representative example of his work.

Additionally, it is the only miniature in the collection at this point which is painted on gold, which is the rarest ground for miniatures to be painted on. And with current gold prices, the purchase price may have only paid for the gold content! Ford exhibited at the RA and elsewhere between 1854-1895, so this item is right in the middle of that. He also painted on ivory and porcelain. 1421, 1444.

In 2010 Bonham's auctioned this enamel brooch depicting a Blood Hound by William Essex, set with a green and white enamel border signed on the reverse 'W.Essex, 1864' It sold for $915 including commission.

It is also taken from Landseer's 'Dignity and Impudence' painted in 1839 and now in the permanent collection at The Tate Gallery in London, so as Dignity it is the pair to Impudence.

William Essex (1784-1869) is widely regarded as the best enamellist of his generation. He first exhibited at the Royal Acdemy in London in 1818. He was appointed enameler to Queen Victoria in 1839 and wrote at treatise on the art of enamelling. Most of his work is based on copies of the Old Masters or works by famous contemporaries such as Landseer and Winterhalter.

Prices for the work by William Essex are all over the place. The vertical tiepin signed by Essex and dated 1863 has been for sale on the Internet for $2150.

The horizontal tiepin of Impudence, also signed by Essex and dated 1863, has been for sale on eBay with an asking price of $6500!!

At Philosophical magazine - Page 442 there is a detailed article by the brother of William Essex, Alfred Essex, who also painted in enamel, which gives considerable detail about the art of painting in enamel, titled, "Some Account of the Art of Painting in Enamel".


Scot, A - portrait of a minister and his wife

Unfortunately the two sitters in this pair of miniature portraits are unidentified, so little can be said about them. The man is obviously a minister and by the quality of the miniatures and of the clothes his wife is wearing they were well-to-do.

They do indicate that one needs to be cautious about seller's descriptions, as they were described by the vendor as American. However, they were in oval red leather cases, which is rare for American miniatures.

Nevertheless, there does now seem to be an American connection, as has become apparent further below.

They are both clearly signed, one as "A Scot" and one as "Scot". The lady is slightly larger (80mmx 63mm) compared to the man (75mm x 60mm) and there are minor differences in the lettering of the signatures which leads one to believe they were painted at different dates.

Blattel's Dictionary does mention an artist named Scot, who is described as German and having exhibited at the Berlin Academy in 1804.

Foskett mentions no artist named Scot, but does record an artist named A Scott of London who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807-1808 from 29 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square. I am of the opinion that both Blattel and Foskett probably refer to the same person. It is also possible that a Miss Scott who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802-1804 from 2 Lambeth Road was the same person.

Judging by the lady's clothing and hairstyle they date from around 1820-1825 and so either the artist was active for a number of years, or it is a different A Scot. The artist was obviously very talented and so it is a little surprising they are not better known, especially as these two miniatures are both clearly signed.

It has not been possible to reconcile these records using the information available to me here, but it is hoped that a London portrait expert may be willing to contact me to try and explain the apparent conflict, and perhaps cast more light on the artist who painted them. 1415, 1416

Later; A very kind visitor has pointed out a reference in Nathalie Lemoine-Bouchard's dictionary which I had not noticed. An approximate translation of the reference from the French seems to be;

Scot - (active between 1797 and 1801) - 
An artist recorded as a student of J.B.J. Augustin, who foot-noted in his notebook in 1797: "Mr. Scot, Anglo-American commenced ......."; and then in 1801: "Mr. Scot of Rue Poissoniere, near to Rue Beauregard, No 175, commenced on 7 July [year X]".

The reference to year X, being year 10 in the Revolutionary calendar, otherwise 1801.

Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Augustin (1759-1832) was one the finest French miniature painters. His style changed over the years, but his influence on Scot can perhaps be seen in the pose of the above Scot portrait of a minister, which seems to be similar in pose to Augustin's "Portrait of a man" of c1790, illustrated as example "c" in Lemoine-Bouchard, and which Boris Wilnitsky offered for sale in 2007.

It would therefore appear from this entry that Scot was an American who had come to learn miniature painting, who then worked in Germany and England, there seeming to be no reference to him returning to America.


Rosse, Michael - portrait of King William III

Although the artist is unconfirmed, this enamel miniature of King William III (1650-1702) would have been painted around 1700. Thus it is about 300 years old, and one of the oldest miniatures in the collection.

However, one kind visitor has offered the comment that the enamel is by an artist whose works usually depict William III and Mary in a quite crude and stiff manner, and with a “woolly” technique.

Apparently the owner of the “Dumas-Egerton Trust”, a large and respected private collection of portrait miniatures, attributes the William and Mary groups to Michael Rosse (1650-1735), the jeweller and enamellist husband of Susan Penelope Rosse (1652-1700). She was also a miniature painter who painted a number of miniatures each about 25mm high.

It is understood the owner of the Trust knows a work signed on the reverse “MR” which confirms his theory.

As mentioned below, the reverse of this enamel cannot be inspected, but in the absence of such an inspection, an attribution of this miniature of William III to Michael Rosse is felt to be a reasonable supposition.

An unattributed miniature in the British Royal Collection of William and Mary is shown here. It is only 25mm x 22mm and is on vellum, rather than enamel, but a likeness with the features on the miniature of William III is apparent.

The William III miniature is also very small at 28mm x 25mm and is contained within a later silver locket which is probably 200-250 years old. There must have been a different frame at an earlier stage as there are tiny holes on the sides and bottom of the case where the case would have fitted into a more elaborate fitting.

The rear of the case is engraved "MAB" which is probably the name of a later owner.

Unfortunately the miniature is wedged into the case and hence the counter enamel cannot be inspected to see if there is a signature on the reverse.

However, in several places on the extreme edge there appears to be signs of gold. Thus it is believed to be enamelled on a gold ground. Enamelled miniatures first appeared around the mid 17C and initially had a gold base, but it was later realised that it was a waste of gold, as the gold could not been seen. Hence copper substituted for gold during the 18C.

On can also speculate where the gold may have come from. No doubt in the 21C it would be possible to use a chemical process to determine the likely source from the impurities in the gold. However, until that happens I would like to think the gold reached England after have been "liberated" from a Spanish treasure galleon, taken as a prize when returning from the America's!

Having regard to the age, the condition is outstanding. If any reader shares my enthusiasm for watching archaeology programmes like "Time Team", you will know how excited the archaeologists get over small shards of broken pottery from around 1700! In my mind a miniature of similar same age is just as exciting.

Further confirmation of the identity of the sitter as William III can be had from a comparison with other contemporary images and in particular by his beaked nose.

The image on the right is an enamel miniature from the British Royal Collection. It is the same size at 28mm x 25mm. The image on the left is an English school enamel of around 1700 and is part of the Dutch Royal Collection. It is slightly smaller in size at 24mm x 16mm. Miniatures of this size were often given by the monarch as a gift of allegiance.

So far an identical pose has not been found, although within the National Portrait Gallery in London there is an engraved image which is the most similar image so far located. The engraving is shown on the right.

As an engraving is often a mirror image of the original portrait, a "flipped" version of the image is shown on the left for easier comparison.

As can be seen, the left frill on the white jabot around his neck is pointed or leaf-shaped, in the same way as the miniature. However, on the miniature the ruff on the jabot is leaf-shaped on the right side as well. Thus so far no other portrait of William III with two leaf-shaped ruffs has been found.

William III looks older in the miniature, than in all the other portraits, so it would seem the miniature relates to the end of his reign, as he died at age 52 in 1702. William died of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone, resulting from a fall off his horse. It was believed by some that his horse had stumbled into a mole's burrow, and as a result many Jacobites toasted "the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat."

William III was born two weeks after his father's death, who had been William II of the Netherlands. When William was 27 years old he married (14th November, 1677) a 15-year-old – Henrietta Mary Stuart – known as Mary, the daughter of James II (the heir-apparent and brother to the ruling Charles II of England). The union proved to be very popular and also allied William with the English monarchy.

William III won the English, Scottish and Irish Crowns following the Glorious Revolution, during which his uncle and father-in-law, James II, was deposed. In England, Scotland and Ireland, William ruled jointly with his wife, Mary II, until her death of smallpox on 28 December 1694. He reigned as 'William II' in Scotland, but 'William III' in all his other realms. Often he is referred to as William of Orange, a name he shared with many other historical figures. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, he is often informally known as King Billy.

There are many Internet references to him. One that is of special interest to American citizens is at Colonial Virginia - Williamsburg Virginia Official Site - Guide ... as Williamsburg in Virginia is named for him. 1298


Princess Amelia - portrait of King George III

This very interesting miniature of George III (1738-1820) is unsigned, but has been attributed to Princess Amelia (7 Aug 1783-3 Nov 1810) the youngest daughter of George III and reputedly his favourite daughter, whom he called Emily. Like many of the family she was quite a skilful artist.

At auction, the miniature was only described as Superb enamelled painting of a Georgian Gentleman dating from circa 1750. The only provenance the vendor was able to ascertain was that the miniature was part of a very small collection of miniatures sold by a deceased estate in Earlswood, Solihull, Warwickshire. The house was also sold at the same auction and is being knocked down for a new development, unfortunately it was an old Georgian house from the 18C which was falling down.

However, the sitter is obviously King George III. The Royal Collection contains a number of miniature portraits of George III. They are illustrated in the catalogue prepared by Richard Walker and titled "Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen - The Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries".

Of particular interest however, is the miniature illustrated as fig 143 on page 77 and shown here in a black and white image. It is 99 mm x 79 mm and is painted in enamel on copper. Of all the portraits of George III, no other portrait has been found with the same pose.

On the reverse of the frame the miniature in the Royal Collection is inscribed on a paper label: "George the 3rd. - painted on copper by the Princess Amelia - given by her to the surgeon Dr Arthur Hill Hassel's grandfather. Dr Arthur Hill Hassell married Mrs Howden's sister -."

For convenient reference, a portrait of Princess Amelia by Charlotte Jones, itself copied from another portrait by the artist Anne Mee, is shown here, with the original being in the Royal Collection.

To try and track down the possible recipient of the miniature in the Royal Collection, Arthur Hill Hassel(l) has been researched. He was probably the Dr Arthur Hill Hassall (1817-1894) shown here in a photograph, who in 1868 founded the Royal National Hospital for Consumption which continued for many years and was closed on its one hundredth anniversary in 1968.

Hassall was born in 1817, the son of Thomas and Ann Hassall in Teddington Middlesex. In the 1851 census, Arthur Hill Hassall was living in 67 Park St, Westminster with his wife Fanny (1825-?) who was born in Hackney. In the 1861 census he was recorded only as living at 74 Wimpole St with two servants, but in the 1871 census there is a Fanny Hassall recorded as residing in Harrow, apparently as a visitor. He was possibly married twice, as a Fanny Hassell, born c1820, is recorded as dying in JFM 1882 in Hendon and there is a marriage of Arthur Hill Hassall in JAS 1883 at Islington, possibly to Alice Margaret MacGill (1847-?) of Clapham.

Arthur Hill Hassall reportedly entered medicine as an apprentice to his uncle Sir James Murray (1788-1871 and shown here) and Hassall spent his early career in Dublin. Sir James Murray is referred to at Sir James Murray, physician and apothecary, 1788 - 1871 as the inventor of Milk of Magnesia.

To date, no closer link to Princess Amelia has been established for the recipient of a gift of a miniature, but it could be by the father of Sir James Murray. Another possibility is the doctor to the Princess, Sir Henry Halford, referred to below. Whether Sir Henry Halford was related to Sir James Murray or Dr Hassall is unknown at present.

The miniature acquired for this collection is almost exactly the same size as the one in the Royal Collection, at 101 mm x 80 mm, and the image is almost exactly the same, there being marginally more of the clothing in view, although these apparent differences may only be as a result of the frame concealing the extreme edge.

It therefore seems that Princess Amelia painted at least two versions of the miniature and gave them to her friends.

Although, Princess Amelia was an amateur artist, she has demonstrated considerable skill in tackling the most difficult miniature painting technique, enamel on copper. This is difficult as the raw pigments used change colour during firing in the kiln and hence it requires skill to know how to apply the pigments.

Princess Amelia had special drawing teachers, but it is not known which of them taught her to use enamels.

Richard Walker also observes "Princess Amelia may had had a sitting from her father, but she is more likely to have made use of Zoffany's portrait of 1771 in the Royal Collection." The Zoffany portrait can be seen at George III For convenient reference a small portion of it is shown here.

The Zoffany portrait was painted 12 years before Princess Amelia was born, so no doubt it was familiar to her as she grew up. However, it is interesting that the clothing worn in the miniature is so different to that of the Zoffany portrait.

Although Walker does not say so, a plausible reason may be that George III sat for Princess Amelia around 1800, so she was able to draw the pose and the clothing from life, but for the head she went to the Zoffany portrait and used this as the basis to complete her miniature. That would have enabled her to take more time and get a better likeness, as painting the king from life in enamels would have been very difficult.

The reverse of the miniature is covered by the normal enamel covering needed to avoid the miniature cracking during firing.

There are some numbers right in the centre of the rear which appear to read "53X" and "91N", but the significance of these is currently unknown. It is also unknown whether the miniature in the Royal Collection is inscribed in a similar manner.

Some sources say that in 1803 Princess Amelia fell in love with Sir Charles FitzRoy (1762-1831), an equerry 21 years older than herself, and a younger son of Charles FitzRoy, 1st Baron Southampton. After her death, he became heir to all her property.

According to most Internet sources, the liaison commenced earlier and they are said to have had one child, Hugh Huntly, born 6 Jan 1796 in Dublin and who died in 1829.

However, if conception is taken as say, nine months prior to this, on say, 6 Apr 1795, Amelia would have only been 11 years and 9 months old at the time of conception, and her pregnancy is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, one wonders what gave rise to the speculation.

Presumably the answer is that Hugh Huntly was an illegitimate son of Charles Fitzroy, but of a mother who died in childbirth, and Amelia becoming aware of the child, indicated to Fitzroy she was willing to recognise Huntly as her step-son, in the event she was able to later marry Fitzroy.

Although Hugh Huntly died in 1829, he had married and had one child, Charles Hugh Grafton Fitzroy Beachcroft Huntly, (19 Nov 1819 - 15 Aug 1889) who became Civil Commissioner of Albany, South Africa and whose obituary is included in The Illustrated London News for 7 Sep 1889. Charles himself had 10 children, so that even today there are people who may believe they are descended from Princess Amelia, although as outlined above, this is unlikely.

It is not clear whether Amelia was formally married to FitzRoy, but she considered herself married to him and signed her correspondence with the initials “AFR”, for Amelia FitzRoy. The Queen was told of the affair by a servant, but turned a blind eye. Amelia knew she could not legally marry FitzRoy due to the provisions of the Royal Marriages Act, but she hoped to gain Privy Council consent after she attained the age of 25. However, her poor health precluded that course of action and she died at the age of 27 in 1810.

Sir Charles Fitzroy later married Eliza Barlow on 21 Sep 1816, but they seem not to have had any children and he died in 1831. Although not certain, it seems as a widow Lady Eliza Fitzroy lived at the home of the Duke of Grafton for the 1841 census and she may have then died in 1850.

Contained within the collection are two other miniatures of George III which depict him more as he would have been at the time of Princess Amelia's death, one in wax by Catherine Andras (1775-1860) and the other by an unknown artist.

According to a New York Times report quoting an 1895 book entitled "The Life of Sir Henry Halford Bart", Sir Henry Halford (1766-1844 and shown here) was doctor to Princess Amelia and she disclosed to him the fact of her secret marriage, begging him to tell the King. Halford refused, but it did fall to him to communicate the fact of Amelia's death.

Sir Henry said to the King that he was going to "try his piety", alluding to the King's somewhat obscure notion that every death that took place in his family was meant to be a trial of his faith. The King immediately replied that he supposed Amelia was dead. Sir Henry assented and the King began talking to himself in a rambling way "Poor girl!" he exclaimed when he had become more composed. See NEW PUBLICATIONS; THE PHYSICIAN OF FOUR SOVEREIGNS

Even when Sir Henry Halford asked George III if he wished to know the provisions of Princess Amelia's will, the King did not realise the possibility of a secret marriage to Fitzroy. "Certainly, certainly, I want to know," the King said with great eagerness.

Sir Henry reminded the King that at the beginning of his illness he had appointed Fitzroy to ride with Princess Amelia; how the King had left Fitzroy with her at Weymouth; how it was natural and proper that she should leave Fitzroy some token for these services; that excepting jewels she had nothing to leave, and had bequeathed them all to Fitzroy. That the Prince of Wales, thinking jewels a very inappropriate bequest for a man, had instead given Fitzroy a pecuniary compensation for the jewels. The Prince then distributed slight tokens to all the attendants and friends of the Princess, giving the bulk of the jewels to Princess Mary, Princess Amelia's most constant and kindest of nurses. Upon this the poor King exclaimed, ' Quite right, just like the Prince of Wales;' and no more was said. (It is even possible the miniature of George III by Princess Amelia, was given as a token to an attendant or friend as part of that process.)

The following story is told about Sir Henry Halford, as the "Bone Collector"

"Charles I was beheaded [in 1649, after the English Civil War] then buried at Windsor Castle in the same vault as Henry VIII. For years, the coffins were lost, but in 1813 they were rediscovered and an autopsy performed by the royal surgeon, Sir Henry Halford. He secretly stole Charles I fourth cervical vertebra, which had been cleanly sliced by the axe. For the next 30 years, he loved to shock friends at dinner parties by using the vertebra as a salt holder." [The bone was later returned, at Queen Victoria's behest, to Charles I coffin.] Sir Henry was also involved in the exhumation of Charles II and from his account of this it has been determined that Charles II died from apoplexy.

For more about Halford, who was born Henry Vaugham, but changed his name after inheriting an ample fortune and was knighted on 27 Sep 1809, see Royal College of Physicians In the 1841 census, Sir Henry lived in Curzon St Westminster, with Henry Halford (c1796-?) and a daughter, or perhaps more likely a niece, Miss Vaughan (c1806-?), and nine servants. His city home was next door to the Earl of Hopetoun. Sir Henry did have a daughter Louisa Halford (?-1865) who married Frederick Coventry on 18 Oct 1819 but no link has been found between her and Arthur Hill Hassall. His country house was at | History of Wistow

His son, also Sir Henry, and a classical scholar like his father, was for many years member of Parliament for the Harborough Division of Leicestershire and his grandson the third and last Sir Henry, was the first Chairman of Leicestershire County Council and a very prominent Volunteer and marksman. So far no link has been found with Arthur Hill Hassall from any Sir Henry Halford.

Amelia had remained unable to achieve happiness as her health deteriorated. In 1808 she had a severe attack of measles and from then things became worse until her death in 1810 from tuberculosis, her father consulting with her doctors several times a day.

Near the end she had a special mourning ring made and one day when the King approached, she placed on his finger a ring containing a small lock of her hair, set beneath a crystal tablet, enclosed by a few sparks of diamonds, and uttered "Remember me!". The words and her death shortly thereafter, are believed to have reactivated the illness of King George, which led to the subsequent invocation of the Regency Act of 1811 and the era commonly called "The Regency Period".

Princess Amelia was the first member of the royal family to be buried in the Royal Vault in St George's Chapel, Windsor. Several portraits of Princess Amelia can be seen at Royal Collection - Princess Amelia and Princess Amelia (1783-1810), 6th daughter of George III

Although there is no specific reason to connect the miniature with a doctor, others who are possibly related to Dr Arthur Hill Hassall include doctors and attendants ministering to Princess Amelia, such as Dr Matthew Baillie (1761-1823), Sir David Dundas and Dr Pope, as well as a doctor ministering to George III, Dr William Heberden the Younger (1767-1845).

Thus although there is no provenance it seems likely Princess Amelia gave this miniature of her father, George III, to one of her friends, or one of her doctors, or even possibly to Sir Charles Fitzroy. Given all the above circumstances, it seems Sir Henry Halford would have been one of those most likely to be given a version by Princess Amelia. 1273

Carlyle, T- portrait of man, possibly Thomas Carlyle

This miniature is possibly an early portrait of the fam0us Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). For much more about him see Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle's books and articles are believed to have inspired social commentators like Charles Dickens and John Ruskin.

The portrait is apparently unsigned, although not removed from its frame. There is glass on the reverse, covering an inscription on the reverse reading "T Carlyle 1816" together with a Latin inscription. In 1816 Carlyle was a young teacher aged 21. The dress and hairstyle fit this date, as does the age of the sitter.

There was also an artist named T Carlyle active around 1816, so it could also be the artist's signature on the reverse.

Unfortunately I can only remember "hic, haec, hoc" from my Latin study, so I cannot translate it, but it appears to read "I.M. biges. Am. quartoque. mens. Atat. su." Any informed suggestions of the correct translation will be gratefully received.

The previous owner suggested that the miniature might possibly be painted by Adam Hope and stated there was a reference by Carlyle, saying his book in "Reminiscences" that he had had his portrait painted in 1816 by a friend, but to date that reference has not been located.

However, a search has been made for other comparable portraits of Carlyle in an effort to compare them with the sitter. Three have been found and there are certainly some similarities. The full face bust portrait of Carlyle at age 46 (in 1841) is the frontispiece in his 1903 book "New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle". The portrait seems to have the same piercing eyes as the miniature.

The other two portraits are of Carlyle at a youngish age, although none seem to be as early as 1816, as they both appear to show sideburns. Sideburns were not fashionable for men in 1816 and it was really after 1820 that they became fashionable. White neck wear as in the miniature was fashionable up to around 1820, with black neck ties as shown in the other portraits, becoming the dominant colour by around 1830.

Thus to date, there is no confirmation of the sitter. 1222