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Zoomable Image of Portrait miniature of A Gentleman, previously identified as Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745), wearing a brown velvet coat and waistcoat, frilled cravat and powdered wig, c.1730

Portrait miniature of A Gentleman, previously identified as Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745), wearing a brown velvet coat and waistcoat, frilled cravat and powdered wig, c.1730

Christian Friedrich Zincke 1683-1767

Portrait miniature of A Gentleman, previously identified as Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745), wearing a brown velvet coat and waistcoat, frilled cravat and powdered wig, c.1730

Christian Friedrich Zincke 1683-1767

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Price:

£2,500

Materials:

Enamel on copper

Dimensions:

Oval, 1 ¾ in (45 mm) high

Provenance:

L. H. Gilbert Collection, Lisbon; Christie’s, London, 3 December 1963, lot 170 (as Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, 80gns to Percival); Christie’s, London, 21 November 2000, lot 5; European Private Collection

Inscriptions:

Inscribed on the reverse of the frame ‘Sir Robert Walpole/ 1st Earl of Orford/ 1676-1745/ BY ZINCKE’

Frame:

Silver-gilt frame with reeded border

Christian Friedrich Zincke was the most successful enamel painter in England in the eighteenth century. A pupil of William Boit, himself the effective successor to Jean Petitot, who introduced the practice in England, Zincke found success so easy that by 1741 he was able to charge the enormous sum of thirty guineas for a miniature...

The previous identification of the sitter in this enamel as Robert Walpole cannot be sustained, particularly when compared to the portrait of Walpole, also by Zincke, in the Gilbert Collection.[1] Close comparison with this portrait shows distinctively different features, including a cleft chin and almost comically unruly, dark eyebrows (a distinguishing feature in all of his other portraits). Nevertheless, this is a typically well-observed portrait from Zincke’s hand, portraying his rather corpulent sitter with dignified honesty.

Christian Friedrich Zincke was the most successful enamel painter in England in the eighteenth century. A pupil of William Boit, himself the effective successor to Jean Petitot, who introduced the practice in England, Zincke found success so easy that by 1741 he was able to charge the enormous sum of thirty guineas for a miniature. Unlike most enamellists, Zincke painted sitters from life instead on relying on copying from large oil portraits.

Due to deteriorating eyesight, Zincke’s career ended prematurely in the 1740s, although by then he had established himself as one of the most prolific and successful portrait enamellists of the eighteenth century. His work is held in a number of major national collections, including the Ashmolean Museum, the Royal Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum.



[1] Currently on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum (2018) (LOAN:GILBERT.289-2008). It would appear that the present work also once formed part of this collection.


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