A Pair of Victorian Watercolour Portrait Paintings on Card and What a Pair of Sitters!


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THE STORY - Okay, so it was just not going to happen that as soon as my eyes fell on this pair of portraits, that I could either forget or reject them. I was in love and the more I look at them the more I fall in love. These two portraits as I have said in the title are painted with watercolour on card, are I think a little too large to be called miniatures with the height of the aperture being approx 10cm and are housed in two same sized frames, but obviously not identical as they are made from completely different woods and neither of the portraits are signed. But I feel as certain as I can be that these two portraits were painted by the same hand and I struggle to believe it is the hand of an amateur but if it is it is an extremely accomplished one. And how I have pondered what the relationship could be between the two of them, I have named him 'Mr Blue Sky' and her 'Beige Armour Lady' and for me they could not be more different in the portrayal of their characters. I believe the portraits from the clothes they are wearing to date to circa 1850. 'Mr Blue Sky' is truly respondent in his blue chequered cravat, beneath which is a wonderful floral painted brooch holding together his jacket. And his hair is amazing those strawberry blond curls and that quite incredible hairline and what I love so much his blond eyelashes and the sweetest little mouth just open to show his front teeth and there he stands in front of the white fluffy clouds in a blue sky. And then there is Beige Armour Lady, I think it is fair to say somewhat less flamboyant in style, but I think the portrait portrays a soft and gentle strength to the lady. Her dress looks like it is made from some stiff heavy cotton and it is constructed in segments which make me think of Armour and heightening this impression for me is the long silver chain hung around her neck. And again 'blue' is the choice of colour for the details with the blue ribbon of her bonnet, the blue flowers in that bonnet's lace and the blue stone of the brooch under her collar. Both full of Eccentric Softness, he maybe flamboyant but she is I think is very strong.

AGE - Circa 1850

CONDITION - Each of the portraits are in very good condition with no foxing that I can see and with the colours still strong and bright. When I was looking back at my photos I became aware of what I thought was dirt on the glass of Mr Blue Sky but looking more closely it looks to me that it is in the paint of his jack, it almost looks as if some water was brushed on it before the paint was dry, this can best be seen in the fifth photo on the bottom right hand corner as you look at it. The frames I think are the original ones with gilt slips. The backing Beige Armour Lady had become loose so as ever I took it to my frames who have secured it and put on some new tape. The ring on the hanger of 'Mr Blue Sky's' frame has been lost at some point and someone has put a ring of twisted wire through as a replacement, I would recommend testing the strength of this before hanging.

DIMENSIONS (Approx - Framed - Height 7" / 17.5cm, Width 6" / 15cm, Depth 1" / 2.5cm. Image Size - Height 4" / 10cm, Width 3" / 7.5cm

Oh my goodness how I would have loved to spent time with these two and can only imagine it would have been highly entertaining. And although I still have no real idea what the relationship between the two could have been, husband and wife, brother and sister, or mother and son, I cannot help but feel that is how it should be, left to our imagination making these two portraits just that extra bit special. Oh yes there is that script on the back of Mr Blue Sky's frame but even though I researched I couldn't find any reference to this Marion.

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