Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Young Boy of the Halsey Family 1720c.

Charles Dagar 

Portrait of a Young Boy of the Halsey Family, Charles Dagar
Oil on canvas
18th Century
37 x 32 inches 94 x 81 cm
The Halsey family, Gaddesden Place, Hertfordshire
Posed with bow in hand and situated against an Arcadian backdrop this junior member of the Halsey family dressed in flowing pink silk represents a fine example of Dagar's mature style.

Charles Dagar was born into a family of French painters and trained under his father, Jacques Dagar (1642 - 1715) as well as Robert Robinson in London. By 1691 Dagar had established a successful practice in England which rivalled that of both Kneller and Dahl. Stylistically his portraits reflect an Augustan balance, refinement and expressiveness indicative of his era. As the artist rarely signed his work his paintings have often been mistakenly attributed to Kneller.

Though the exact identity of the sitter in this portrait is unrecorded, genealogical chronology narrows the field to two possibilities. The marriage of Thomas Halsey (d.1715), MP for Great Gaddesden and High Sheriff of Hertfordshire to the heiress Anne Henshaw produced two sons, Henshaw and Charles. The eldest of these, Henshaw, succeeded his father but died without issue in 1738. The estate then passed to Thomas Halsey's second son, Charles, born in 1707 who held his father's title of High Sheriff and later married Agatha Dorrien in 1746. The youthful features of the sitter in the portrait would indicate those of a boy no older than ten therefore making these candidates the most likely members of the Halsey family to be depicted in this work.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.