Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Lady, wearing a white dress with high lace collar and a necklace with cross around her neck, 1780s 

George Engleheart (1750/3-1829)

Portrait miniature of a Lady, wearing a white dress with high lace collar and a necklace with cross around her neck, 1780s, George Engleheart
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 76mm (3 in) high
 
Provenance:
Private Collection
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George Engleheart is widely regarded as one of the leading late eighteenth/early nineteenth century portrait miniature painters and a figurehead of one of the most accomplished generation of British miniaturists.

Born in Kew, the son of a German plaster modeler, Engleheart 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 and spent most of his career working in London, where he built up an excellent reputation amongst a vast number of patrons.

This miniature of a currently unidentified lady by Engleheart dates from the 1780s, his ‘middle phase’ as an artist, when he had gained in confidence and his characteristic and highly accomplished style evolved. Characteristically if this period, Engleheart paints his sitter with quite dark eyes, which, when placed against a light sky background, has a very engaging effect. The cross worn around the sitter’s neck, perhaps made of red coral, is not a common feature seen in portrait miniatures at this period, and is an open display of her faith - perhaps appealing to the sentiments of her loved one, for whom this miniature was most probably intended.
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