Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Child, wearing white dress with red sash, cradling a hound (probably a Brittany spaniel) 

Henry Jacob Burch (1763-1834)

Portrait miniature of a Child, wearing white dress with red sash, cradling a hound (probably a Brittany spaniel), Henry Jacob Burch
Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 2 in. (64mm.) high
Bequested by John H. Swasey to Horatio R. Swasey in 1907, thence given by Horatio R. Swasey of Altadena, California to James Henry Breasted Jr. (Director of the Los Angeles County Museum) and thence by descent
To view portrait miniatures currently for sale at Philip Mould & Co, please go to www.philipmould.com.

Henry Jacob Burch, son of the artist Edward Burch R.A. showed a particular talent in his portrayal of children. His fresh, bright colours particularly well-preserved in this example are particularly suited to the portrayal of extreme youth. His light handling of watercolour also served him well in this subject and he cleverly suggested the constant movement of toddlerhood through this technique.

Although to modern eyes the subject of this miniature would appear to be a girl, it is more likely to represent a boy. The contemporary gender based concept of boys being dressed in blue and girls in pink was not common practice until the mid 20th Century. In fact, in the early 20th century when colour theories became popular, girls were commonly dressed in blue and boys in pink. Blue was considered a delicate colour, associated with the Virgin Mary, and pink a strong, masculine colour.

Burch exhibited at the R.A. having entered the schools aged sixteen. He never became a Royal Academician like his father but was a highly successful miniaturist, competing with the best names of his day including William Wood and Richard Cosway.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.