Historical Portraits Picture Archive

A portrait miniature enamel of Francis Beckford (d.1768) wearing blue coat embroidered with gold, tied with lace cravat, brown hair worn en queue 

Christian Friedrich Zincke (1683/4-1767)

A portrait miniature enamel of Francis Beckford (d.1768) wearing blue coat embroidered with gold, tied with lace cravat, brown hair worn en queue, Christian Friedrich Zincke
Enamel on metal
18th Century
Oval, 1 ĺ in, 45mm high
By family descent until 2009; Private Collection, USA.
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Zincke was born in Dresden to a family of goldsmiths. After training in his home town, he travelled to London at the invitation of Charles Boit, then the leading practitioner of enamelling in Europe. For some time he worked alongside Boit but soon began his own studio.

From 1714, Boit having fled England to escape his creditors, Zincke became Englandís finest and most sought after enamellist. His output was prolific and although his eyesight began to deteriorate during the 1720s, he was made enamel painter to George II in 1732, which increased his patronage further. Unlike other enamellists many of his portraits were made ad vivum, although he was not averse to flattering his sitters at their request.

His enamels can be found in most significant public and private collections, including The Royal Collection, the Portland collection at Welbeck Abbey, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and numerous others.

The Beckford family had a long-established reputation of wealth and success as plantation owners in Jamaica, Peter Beckford (1672/3-1735), Francisí father, was acknowledged as the wealthiest planter in Jamaica when he died, although also gaining vast wealth from financing other businesses and individuals. He was, however, also a very aggressive character and was known for a viscous temper, supposedly murdering a Deputy Judge-Advocate whilst in Jamaica. When he died his estate was divided between his nine remaining legitimate children, and by 1754 Francis owned 2616 acres of land, the majority going to the eldest son Peter, who subsequently left it to Francisí brother Alderman William Beckford - a politician and Lord Mayor of London.

Francis married twice, first in 1743 to Lady Albinia Bertie (d.1754), and following her death a decade later, Francis married Susannah Love (d.1803), an heiress of Basing Park, Hampshire, with who he had a son, Francis Love-Beckford who took on the family seat.

Surprisingly little is known about the life of Francis Beckford compared to his more politically ambitious siblings, and one of the few historical documents regarding his life and character details his support of a local school in East Meon, near his residence of Basing Park.
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