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Zoomable Image of Portrait miniature of a Young Girl, possibly a Miss Ross, wearing a white dress with a frilled lace border and purple sash, her dark hair curled

Portrait miniature of a Young Girl, possibly a Miss Ross, wearing a white dress with a frilled lace border and purple sash, her dark hair curled

George Engleheart (1750-1829)

Portrait miniature of a Young Girl, possibly a Miss Ross, wearing a white dress with a frilled lace border and purple sash, her dark hair curled

George Engleheart (1750-1829)

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Price:

£9,500

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Oval, 2 ½ in (65 mm) high

Provenance:

Probably Major-General Alexander Ross and Barbara Evelyn Isabella Gunning; Thence by descent to a member of the Whatman family

Frame:

Gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal graduated panels of hair, the whole in a red leather travelling case

The naturalistic touches , such as the escaping curls falling over the sitter's shoulders, are typical of Engleheart's brilliance, and stylistically suggest a date for this work between the mid-1780s and mid-1790s...

Having been acquired from the same collection as our portrait miniature of Miss Barbara Gunning, it is possible that this painting by George Engleheart also depicts a member of the Ross family, possibly a niece of Alexander Ross), the youngest of five sons of Ross of Auchlossin.[1]

Extracts from George Engleheart’s Fee-Book, transcribed in Williamson’s George Engleheart 1750-1829, show a Miss Ross painted by the artist in 1785 and 1798.[1] The naturalistic touches, such as the escaping curls falling over the sitter’s shoulders and the shadows cast by the sleeve onto the sash, are typical of Engleheart’s brilliance, and stylistically suggest a date for this work between the mid-1780s and mid-1790s. If the present sitter was painted by Engleheart in 1785, considering her probable age, she would have been born in the early 1770s and could feasibly be the daughter of one of Alexander Ross’s older brothers.

Despite Engleheart’s exceptionally busy practice - he often painted over three miniatures every week – he took particular care with his portraits of young children. His drawings and miniatures of his own children, many still in the possession of the Engleheart family, are among the most beguiling child portraits of the period.



[1] Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

[2] G.C. Williamson & H.L.D. Engleheart, George Engleheart 1750-1829 Miniature Painter to George III (London, 1902), pp.110 & 111

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