Victorian Portrait of a Young Woman with Corn Coloured Hair and a Passion it would seem for Pastel coloured Clothes


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THE STORY - When my eyes first fell upon this dear young lady I felt as if I was looking at a character from a storybook, possibly because of the way the portrait is composed in the centre of the paper leaving plenty of blank space around her almost like an illustration from a book below which the script would be written, but it could also have been because the way she was dressed also made me think of Alice in Wonderland. But this wonderful lady is no made up character I very much believe she was a real person and at the bottom of the portrait it is signed with the name Mary Kipling and dated 1847. My brain tells me Mary Kipling would be the artist but for some reason my heart wants to tell me Mary Kipling is our dear young woman, I think because I want to give her an identity. The painting is executed with watercolour on paper and in some ways reminds me of the miniature portrait paintings of this era where the face is painted with far greater detail than the body and her face is touching and I think finely painted and I absolutely love the lightness of the shadows of her face highlighting her wonderfully strong nose and her deep set eyes. I remember when I first saw her I was drawn to the look in her eyes there was almost something glassy about them and then when I looked closer I saw that some of the paint is lost from her eyes, but for me this almost reinforces the feeling of her being a character from a novel. And how I love how those ringlets which frame her face are painted. Of course I have tried to find out more information about Mary Kipling but sadly was unable to find any information on the internet. The portraits sits within a simple deep wooden frame which I am certain is not the original one but I have to say its simplicity does work very well with the portrait as it enables your attention to be solely and rightly on our dear young lady.

DATE - 1847

CONDITION - Both the portrait and the frame are are in good condition. There is the loss of paint to the young lady's eyes, it is very marginal in one eye and more obvious in the other which can best be seen in the sixth photo. The paper has almost certainly darkened and yellowed with age as to be expected. There also what looks to be a little dirt under the glass in the bottom corner under the signature which can best be seen in the third photo. The tape on the back of the frame is old and slightly dry and I would recommend testing or replacing the string before hanging.

DIMENSIONS (Approx) - Framed - Height 15" /38.5cm, Width 13" / 33cm, Depth 1&1/2" / 4cm. Painted Image - Height 5" / 13cm, Width 4&1/2" / 12cm

Typically of me I wonder what the Young Woman thought of her Portrait and what her relationship with the Artist Mary Kipling was. I find it hard to imagine her not liking the portrait as I find it very touching and indeed I think it was obviously much loved by the family to have survived nearly 180 years. In its time this dear young lady's portrait would have been hung from many a wall to be admired and it is lovely to think of this happening again to her and all the further admiration she will no doubt garner.

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