Historical Portraits Picture Archive

A portrait miniature of an Officer, a subaltern (ensign or lieutenant-and-captain) in the Third Foot Guards (now the Scots Guards) 

The artist signing 'Cleeve' (fl.circa.1796-1806)

A portrait miniature of an Officer, a subaltern (ensign or lieutenant-and-captain) in the Third Foot Guards (now the Scots Guards), The artist signing 'Cleeve'
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 76mm. (3in.) high
 
Provenance:
Sir Edwin Otway Herbert KBE, CB, DSO Edward Sidney Herbert, CMG, CBE; and thence by descent
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This fascinating miniature has been painted by an unrecorded artist. Although it is rare to find such professional quality by a previously unknown hand it is possible that unsigned works by the same artist have appeared on the market. Whoever the artist might have been, they were clearly influenced by the work of John Downman A.R.A. (1750-1824). The origin of the artist also remains obscure, as the provenance for this miniature is a prominent Irish family, but the sitter is shown in the Third Foot Guards (now the Scots Guards). Much of the time, this regiment was based at the court in London.
It has not been possible to identify the sitter in the miniature, although it was previously owned by the Herbert family of Muckross House in Killarney, Co. Kerry. The existing house was built in 1839, designed by William Burn, being the fourth house that generations of the Herbert family had built at Muckross. The family gained their wealth from copper mining on the Muckross Peninsular during the 18th and early 19th century, with the help of the geologist Rudolf Eric Raspe (1736-1794), author of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen. The politician Henry Arthur Herbert, (18151866) built the house which stands today. The house is now part of Killarney National Park, which was created in 1932 when the estate was donated to the Irish government.

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