Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a young Man wearing a blue jacket, his hair worn long, 1786 

Andrew Plimer (c.1763-1837)

Portrait miniature of a young Man wearing a blue jacket, his hair worn long, 1786, Andrew Plimer
Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 1 7/8 inches, 4.8cm
Andrew Plimer was born in Shropshire, his father was a clockmaker and after being expected to enter the trade, Andrew and brother Nathaniel reputedly ran away, arriving in London in 1781 when Andrew entered the employment of Richard Cosway as a servant. After receiving lessons from the well-established Cosway, Plimer set up on his own in 1785 in Maddox Street before moving to Golden Square one year later, then a highly fashionable part of the city. Plimer appears to have travelled around; in 1801 he was working throughout Devon and Cornwall, in 1815 he lived in Exeter and in 1835 he moved to Brighton where he died two years later.

The present work is dated 1786 and must therefore be one of the first portrait miniatures undertaken by Plimer as a professional artist after setting up the year before. Generally speaking Plimerís work after 1789 can often appear quite repetitive and formulaic and the faces of his sitters can sometimes be susceptible to fading. None of this applies to the present work however where we notice the pristine condition of colours; the rich blue of the jacket and the delicate shading seen in the face in particular. Immediately in this work we also notice the effect of the young Plimerís training under Cosway; in particular the inclusion of the sky background which the latter had practically established the norm by this point.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.