Noah Seaman (FL. 1724-1741)
The sombre garb and professional wig are unusual in such an intimate scale of portrait, as portrait enamels were usually exchanged in a romantic capacity.
This portrait, by the enameller Noah Seaman, is a rare depiction of a professional gentleman, portrayed in attire which announces his important working status. The sombre garb and professional wig are unusual in such an intimate scale of portrait, as portrait enamels were usually exchanged in a romantic capacity.
Noah Seaman and his brother, Abraham, worked in a very similar manner, their enamels quite different to the soft, stippled paintwork employed by their contemporaries. Very little can be gleaned about their early life or training but there would appear to be a connection to the Netherlands as a number of examples of their work are extant in Dutch collections. These include two enamels in the Dutch Royal Collection. Their sitters appear to have come from the higher echelons of society, either by dint of their noble status or notoriety – including George Frederick Handel (dated 1741) and the Duke of Portland. The Victoria and Albert museum have a similarly painted example to the present work, showing the contours of the sitter’s face strongly painted in reddish hues [LOAN:GILBERT.273-2008].