Naive Antique Pastel Portrait of a Provincial Young Woman with Wonderfully Coiffured Hair and Beautiful Blue Eyes


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THE STORY - I spend an awful lot of time, on my laptop scrolling through Auction House Catalogues, looking for that item that speaks directly to me and of course when I saw this young woman's portrait it spoke to me loudly. I think it was that wonderful naive face with the beautiful vibrant colours of the portrait. But when I received the parcel and opened her up, I was taken aback by how much softer and more expressive the portrait was, and then of course I photographed her for this listing and I feel I too have lost that softness and most importantly I have lost the sense that you are looking at a real person and not a character. The portrait would I think date from her costume to the early 1800's, possibly 1840, for some reason I do not think this is Georgian and is executed with pastel on paper. There is a naivety to the quality of the drawing, with the simplicity of her hair and her dress, but her face I think is quite beautiful and quite fine, with those fine dark eyebrows and almond shaped eyes of deep blue and that little mouth matching the same colours as her dress. And she is certainly attired beautifully her hair arranged in what could be called an Apollo Knot with that wonderful comb/tiara placed on her crown and with those two dark ringlets falling on either side. The dress Empire Line in style would have been at the height of fashion and that wonderful shawl with just that hint of colourful embroidery at its edge. She sits in front of a wonderful vibrant blue background which lightens from the grey blue at the bottom to a sky blue at the top. The portrait sits in a gold painted wooden frame, which is certainly not the original one, but from the label on the back and the format of the London telephone number (active between 1958 and May 1990) I think would date to circa 1980. And I have to say I think the frame works well with the portrait the orangery gold complimentary the blue wonderfully.

AGE - Portrait Circa 1840. Frame Circa 1980

CONDITION - Both the portrait and the frame are in good condition. There does seem to be a little rippling to the paper although I do feel this is exaggerated by the way the background has been painted and is more noticeable at the top than at the bottom. There is what almost looks like a white hair but I think it could be a scratch in the drawing just by her bun on the side where her shawl is draped and can just be made out in the final photo. The frame is in good condition although the glass was very dirty when she arrived which I have obviously cleaned.

DIMENSIONS (Approx) - Framed - Height 15&3/4" / 40cm, Width 13&1/2" / 34cm, Depth 1&1/2" / 4cm. Image Size - Height 9&3/4" / 25cm, Width 7&1/2" / 19cm.

I really do love this young woman, there is something about that hint of a smile on those small lips and the way that she gazes at you with those blue eyes that is utterly charming, and I find extremely expressive. I just wish I could have portrayed in my photographs as I see her now as I look down upon her. I think with her dark hair and her fine eyebrows she would have been considered quite a beauty amongst her contemporaries and I have to say I think they were right, but I also think from her expression this dear young lady senses rightly she feels pretty special too.

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