Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of Lieutenant-Colonel George Collier (d.1814) of the Coldstream Guards, wearing scarlet coat with gold epaulettes, white cross belt with metal belt plate, and an unidentified medal 

George Engleheart (1750/3-1829)

Portrait miniature of Lieutenant-Colonel George Collier (d.1814) of the Coldstream Guards, wearing scarlet coat with gold epaulettes, white cross belt with metal belt plate, and an unidentified medal, George Engleheart
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Watercolour on paper
Oval, 122mm. (5 ins.) high
 
Literature:
Williamson and Engleheart, George Engleheart 1750-1829 Miniature Painter to George III, London, 1902, p. 92
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This unusually large work on paper is a version of a watercolour on ivory miniature, painted by George Engleheart and recorded in his fee book (1807). Further portraits of a Captain Collyer (sic) and a Colonel Collyer (sic) are recorded in 1810 and 1812 respectively – one may refer to this portrait. The artist James Leakey (1775-1865) also painted a version of this portrait in oil on ivory.

The eldest son of distinguished naval officer Sir George Collier (1738-1795), George reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Coldstream Guards, and died of wounds received at Bayonne (Peninsular War) on 10th May 1814. His mother’s grief is recorded by Hester Lynch Piozzi (1784-1821) in a letter published in 1816; “Poor Lady Collier is now in the deepest Mourning for her Son who died at Bayonne A Year or Two ago. She wants to go there and be buried with him.”

George Engleheart is considered to be one of the most distinguished miniaturists of the late Georgian period alongside Cosway, Smart and Humphry, and was one of the most prolific artists of the period. He was born in Kew, the son of a German plaster modeller. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools under Reynolds and the landscape painter George Barret. Engleheart’s skill and industry as a miniaturist appealed to George III, and in 1789 he was appointed Miniature Painter to the King. He painted at least twenty-five portraits of the King and many others of the royal family. He spent most of his career working in London where he built up an excellent reputation.

This unusually large work on paper may have been commissioned as a memorial portrait for Collier’s grieving family. Although he usually worked on an ivory support, after 1800 Engleheart followed the trend set by his contemporary miniaturist Richard Cosway in painting on a paper support. The medal COllier wears is possibly the Honorable East India Company Gold Medal from the Egyptian Campaign of 1801.
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