Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, wearing pale green-blue coat with brass buttons overt tied white cravat, his powdered hair worn en queue 

Andrew Plimer (c.1763-1837)

Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, wearing pale green-blue coat with brass buttons overt tied white cravat, his powdered hair worn en queue, Andrew Plimer
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Watercolour on ivory
19th Century
Oval, 80mm (3 1/8in) high
 
Provenance:
English Private Collection
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Born in Shropshire and apprenticed to a clockmaker, Andrew and his brother Nathaniel purportedly ran away, arriving in London in 1781 where Andrew found employment as a servant in the household of Richard Cosway. Whilst working for Cosway, who by this point was a highly regarded portrait miniaturist, Plimer took lessons in painting, establishing a practice of his own a few years later in 1785. By the next year Plimer was exhibiting at the Royal Academy from an address in Golden Square, then a fashionable part of London, where he appears to have remained until 1810.

Between 1815-20 Plimer travelled around, establishing himself first in Exeter, and after a brief return to London, onto Scotland where he is thought to have experienced great success. In 1835 Plimer moved with his family to Brighton where he died two years later with considerable wealth.

The present portrait miniature is an ambitious example of Plimerís later body of works which are much larger in size, sometimes over 3 Ĺ inches high. Plimer was a highly talented manipulator of the ivory medium and the thin washes of white with intermittent dashes of blue in the background combine to give a highly luminescent sky backdrop, a feature introduced and pioneered in miniature by his master Richard Cosway. The jacket too reveals Plimerís technique of delicate, precise hatching to create light and shade with artistic spontaneity evident where his cravat is broken up against the light background by a series of dark hatchings to the left hand side.
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