Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Two children embracing, wearing white chemises with blue sashes 

Anne Mee (née Foldsone) (c.1770/75-1851)

Two children embracing, wearing white chemises with blue sashes, Anne Mee (née Foldsone)
Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Circular, 63mm. diam. (miniature only)
The Property of a Lady, Bonhams, London, April 27 2005, lot 91
The influence of Mee’s master, the hugely successful portraitist George Romney, can clearly be seen in this charming double portrait. As his protégée and pupil, Mee has aped Romney’s characteristically painted doe eyes and enchanting composition and compressed these effects into a miniature. Mee responded well to her child subjects, just avoiding the nineteenth century sentimentality that was due to become increasingly popular. Children are, however, surprisingly rare in her repertoire, which consists mostly of female portraits.

As a mother of six children herself, Mee has invested this double portrait with a tenderness and spontaneity that suggests the subject could be personal. The dating of the costume to circa 1800-1805 would fit with the ages of her own children. Her portraits of men are far fewer, partly due to the jealous nature of her husband, the barrister Joseph Mee, who would not allow her to paint male subjects.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.