Small but Massive in Character, Regency Portrait of a Most Expressive Young Gentleman


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THE STORY - Well I don't think I need to explain exactly what caught my attention with this wonderful little portrait, of course it was that face, I think it is fair to say not a face of an individual who likes to conform with conventions, there is no smiling sweetly for the Artist in this portrait. The Portrait painted on paper with gouache and watercolour would I believe date to the beginning of the 1800s and it sits in its original gilt wood frame inset with a Verre Eglomise Mount. The painting is neither signed nor dated but I think is finely painted. I did strike me whether this could be an interpretation of a fictional figure in Georgian Literature, but in my research I came across nothing that looked liked this dear young man, but of course my research has its limitations. This boy or maybe I should be saying young man has his face slightly turned away from the Artist but his eyes look back a you with that eyebrow raised, his nose is short and small under which is that tiny mouth raised at the edges almost in a scowl. And I absolutely adore his red double-breasted jacket over his yellow waistcoat through which there is his high collared shirt with splendid ruffles. And I love the grey earthy tones of the portrait, helped in part I think but the use of gouache in the watercolour which helps to give a matt effect to the paint with the use of powder. But I have to say it has made the painting a little challenging to photograph, and I think for me the second photo is the truest representations of the colour. The painting is such a lovely size, larger than a miniature with the painting itself measuring 4&3/4" in height by 3&3/4" in width, and the frame measuring 7&1/2" in height by 6&1/2" in width. For me it is certainly a painting that could sit in small space amongst many others and command attention, or it has enough strength to sit on a wall on it's own enjoying all the attention.

AGE - Circa 1820

CONDITION - The painting is in very good condition considering its age, with no foxing or tears to the paper that I can see. There is however a gap between the painting and Verre Eglomise Mount at the bottom of the portrait, which can best be seen in the seventh photo, although I have moved the frame quite vigorously I have to say the painting has not moved at all so I believe it is all secure. The frame too is in good condition , I am certain it has been repainted at some point in its life as the paint is very even with just a few chips to it at the bottom edge. The Verre Eglomise Mount does show signs of wear with some scratches to the black paint. I Also want to point out again that for me the best representation of colour of this portrait is the second photo (but appreciate all monitors show colour differently).

DIMENSIONS (Approx) - Framed - Height 7&1/2" / 19cm, Width 6&1/2" / 16.5cm, Depth 1" / 2.5cm. Portrait - Height 4&3/4" / 12cm, Width 3&3/4" / 9.5cm

I can honestly say that I am still as amazed by this portrait as when I first saw it. And of course me being me I cannot help but wonder what kind of Gentleman this Young Man grew up to be and whether in later life when he sat for another portrait, he did conform and smiled, although I am sure it would have been knowingly at the Artist.

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