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Zoomable Image of Portrait miniature of a Lady called Mary Brisbane, wearing black dress with white fichu, her dark hair worn long and curled, 1800

Portrait miniature of a Lady called Mary Brisbane, wearing black dress with white fichu, her dark hair worn long and curled, 1800

Attributed to Alexander Gallaway (fl.1794-1812)

Portrait miniature of a Lady called Mary Brisbane, wearing black dress with white fichu, her dark hair worn long and curled, 1800

Attributed to Alexander Gallaway (fl.1794-1812)

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Price:

£1,600

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Oval, 2 3/4 in (70 mm) high

Provenance:

Daphne Foskett Collection (no.150)

Frame:

Original gold frame, the reverse with curls of dark brown hair and gold wire, blue glass lozenge with seed pearl initials ‘MB’, the whole laid onto opalescent glass.

This portrait miniature, probably painted by the Scottish artist Alexander Gallaway, would have been commissioned in the sitter's native Scotland...

The sitter is possibly Miss Mary Brisbane (1772-1855), daughter of Thomas Brisbane (1720?–1812) and his wife, Eleanor and sister to Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, Bt. (1773-1860), Governor of New South Wales, Australia.

Mary Brisbane is recorded as dying, unmarried, at 6 Sydney Place, Bathwick (then in Somerset) on 31 March 1855. She was buried at St. Mary, Bathwick, on 7 April ‘aged 83’ (parish register).[1] This portrait miniature, probably painted by the Scottish artist Alexander Gallaway, would have been commissioned in her native Scotland. Very little is known about Gallaway, his sitters ranging from the emerging middle classes to well-known personalities. This portrait incorporates many characteristics found in his work, including the build-up of form using a soft stippling technique.

A portrait miniature of Mary Brisbane’s eminent brother was painted by Simon Jacques Rochard (1788-1872) and was sold Sotheby’s, 1st June 1970, lot 70.



[1] These brief details are also in Gentlemen’s Magazine, new series 43 (1855), 549. Her Will, dated 1832, was proved on 16 June 1855, The National Archives (TNA) PROB 11/2213, sig 479. Apart from gifts of clothing to her servants, everything, including properties in England, was left to her brother, Sir Thomas. Death Duty registers value her estate at £8000: TNA IR 27/312, register 3, No 726.

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