Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait enamel of Sir Richard Neave, 1st Baronet of Dagenham, Essex (1731-1814) wearing blue coat with black collar, white lace cravat and powdered wig, worn en queue and tied with broad black ribbon 

Jeremiah Meyer RA (1735–1789)

Portrait enamel of Sir Richard Neave, 1st Baronet of Dagenham, Essex (1731-1814) wearing blue coat with black collar, white lace cravat and powdered wig, worn en queue and tied with broad black ribbon, Jeremiah Meyer RA
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Enamel on copper
18th Century
Oval, 1 2/8 inches, 3.2cm
 
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With a gold plated pierced frame set with red gem stones.

Jeremiah Meyer is one of the most celebrated portrait miniature painters of the Eighteenth Century.

Born in Germany and moving to England at an early age, Meyer’s early training was with the enamellist Christian Friedrich Zincke (1683/5-1767), although this was only a brief tutorship, given Zincke was getting increasingly frail and unable to take students.

Meyer was the oldest of a group of artists, including Richard Cosway, John Smart and Richard Crosse, all born around the same date, who took lessons at William Shipley 's new drawing school, the first such school in London. After his expensive apprenticeship with Zincke, it seems that he also spent time at the informal St. Martin's Lane 'Academy' run by William Hogarth. As one of the founder members of the Royal Academy, which opened in 1769, Meyer was one of a new generation of miniaturists who would present their art form in direct competition with oil painters. In 1764, Meyer was appointed miniature painter to Queen Charlotte and painter in enamel to King George III and a decade later, in 1774, one critic noted ‘[His] miniatures excell all others in pleasing Expression, Variety of Tints and Freedom of Execution’.

Sir Richard Neave was the son of James Neave (1700-64) and Susanna Truman (1695-1766) and was a director of the Bank of England for forty-eight years before being made deputy governor in 1781, and then subsequently Governor in 1783. In 1785 Neave was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1794 was appointed High Sheriff of Essex. On 13th May 1795 Neave was created a 1st Baronet of Dagenham Park, Essex, which he bought some twenty years earlier and extensively rebuilt.

The present work remains in exquisite condition, with all the original colours perfectly preserved by nature of the enamelling process. Neave and his wife were also painted in a double-portrait by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) in the mid-1760s [Llysdulas, Anglesey], and it is highly probable that this work was painted around the same time.
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