Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, wearing blue coat and white shirt with his hair powdered, c.1780s 

Richard Cosway RA (1742-1821)

Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, wearing blue coat and white shirt with his hair powdered, c.1780s, Richard Cosway
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 1 1/8 inches, 2.7cm high (miniature only)
 
Set into a waisted, rectangular gold mounted and lined, tortoiseshell snuff box, the oval mount and thumbpiece of chased design (tortoiseshell repaired)

This portrait miniature by Richard Cosway dates from the 1780s, when he was painting portraits to be worn as jewellery or set into boxes. Even on this small scale his painterly prowess is clear, with the folds of the sitter’s frilled shirt highlighted with minute brushstrokes.

Cosway was the leading portrait miniaturist of the Regency. His most important patron was the young Prince of Wales (later George IV), who he first painted in 1780. During the later eighteenth century he influenced the taste for portrait miniatures among the fashionable elite.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.