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Zoomable Image of A young Gentleman, wearing black coat and waistcoat, white cravat, 1773

A young Gentleman, wearing black coat and waistcoat, white cravat, 1773

John Smart (1741-1811)

A young Gentleman, wearing black coat and waistcoat, white cravat, 1773

John Smart (1741-1811)

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Price:

£5,500

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Oval, 1 ½ in (38 mm) high

Provenance:

Bought by Edward Grosvenor Paine from S. J. Phillips, London, in 1968 or in July 1971; Edward Grosvenor Paine (1911-1989) Collection, New Orleans, La., inv. No. 559; Christie’s, London, 23 October 1979, lot 111; Christie’s, London, 20 November 2007, lot 55; Private Collection

Inscriptions:

Signed with initials and dated ‘J.S./ 1773’

Frame:

Set into gold bracelet clasp frame with gold chain

The bright, clear colouring in this portrait is particularly strong, the sitter’s skin tones and hair colour vivid against the black of his suit.

This portrait, of a young red-headed gentleman, dates from relatively early in Smart’s career, and twelve years before his move to India in pursuit of new patrons. Born in 1741, Smart emerged as an independent artist in the late 1750s/ early 1760s, exhibiting at the society of artists from 1762. A few years after the present portrait was painted in 1775 he became director of that organization and vice president in 1783 just a few years before his departure for India...

The bright, clear colouring in this portrait is particularly strong, the sitter’s skin tones and hair colour vivid against the black of his suit. There is no reason to doubt that the miniature is cased in its original gold bracelet clasp frame, as several other examples survive from this period similarly framed.[1]



[1] See E. Rutherford, L. Hendra & al., ‘John Smart (1741-1811): a genius magnified’, London 2014, entries from the mid 1770s


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