Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Lady, wearing white trimmed pale pink dress, her hair powdered and decorated with pink ribbon 

George Engleheart (1750/3-1829)

Portrait miniature of a Lady, wearing white trimmed pale pink dress, her hair powdered and decorated with pink ribbon, George Engleheart
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 1 11/8 in. (44mm.) high
 
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This sensitively drawn portrait dates from the early part of Engleheartís career. The sitterís hairstyle and costume suggest a date in the early 1780s. The light background is unusual for his work at this date but compliments the sitterís delicately coloured dress. Typical of his portraits from this date, the sitter is shown posed in a three-quarter profile. This pose relates closely to the large oil paintings of his master, Sir Joshua Reynolds.

From 1773, Engleheart gained much patronage from his exhibits at the Royal Academy. His career advanced with great rapidity and his popularity as an artist continued throughout his life, his success eventually recognized by his appointment as miniature painter to the king (1789). A sociable, but not ostentatious character (unlike his main rival, Richard Cosway), his closest circle included artists and poets, including William Hayley, George Romney, William Blake, John Flaxman, and Jeremiah Meyer. One of Engleheart's miniatures of his friend William Hayley (1809) is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In 1827 Engleheart moved to Blackheath, Kent, to live with his son Nathaniel, and he died there on 21 March 1829; he was buried in the family vault at Kew church where his gravestone can still be found.
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