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Zoomable Image of Portrait miniature of Sophia Phillips, seated in a crimson chair, wearing a white dress and blue surcoat, black ribbon bow necklace and grey powdered hair with blue ribbons, c.1775

Portrait miniature of Sophia Phillips, seated in a crimson chair, wearing a white dress and blue surcoat, black ribbon bow necklace and grey powdered hair with blue ribbons, c.1775

George Engleheart 1750-1829

Portrait miniature of Sophia Phillips, seated in a crimson chair, wearing a white dress and blue surcoat, black ribbon bow necklace and grey powdered hair with blue ribbons, c.1775

George Engleheart 1750-1829

Purchase Enquiries

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Price:

£4,500

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

1.6 in (41 mm) high

Provenance:

Collection of Edward Grosvenor Paine, Christie’s, London, 23 October 1979, lot 136; Sotheby’s, 16 April 2008, lot 28; European Private Collection

Literature:

Dr. G. C. Williamson, ‘George Engleheart, 1750-1829, miniature painter to George III’, London, 1902, p.109; A ‘Mrs. Phillips’ sat to George Engleheart in 1781, although it is not possible to confirm whether this is the same person as represented in this miniature Arturi-Phillips, ‘George Engleheart and his nephew John Cox Dillman Engleheart’, Hampshire, 2016, illustrated p.48

Inscriptions:

Inscribed and signed on the front with initials ‘GE’

Frame:

Gilded metal frame

The present work also owes a debt to Sir Joshua Reynolds in the composition, the sitter’s averted gaze demonstrating a parallel with the oil portraits of the period...

This portrait dates to the early part of Engleheart’s career, when his style was closer to that of John Smart, capturing the smallest of details in a fine, graphic technique. Later as he became more successful his technique evolved to keep up with his demanding schedule and he worked in looser brush strokes. The present work also owes a debt to Sir Joshua Reynolds in the composition, the sitter’s averted gaze demonstrating a parallel with the oil portraits of the period.


From 1773, Engleheart gained much patronage, probably from his exhibits at the Royal Academy. His career advanced with great rapidity and his popularity as an artist continued to gain momentum throughout his life. His success was eventually recognized by his appointment as miniature painter to the king in 1789. A sociable, but not ostentatious character (unlike his main rival, Richard Cosway), his closest circle included artists and poets, including William Hayley, George Romney, William Blake, John Flaxman, and Jeremiah Meyer. One of Engleheart's miniatures of his friend William Hayley (1809) is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In 1827 Engleheart moved to Blackheath, Kent, to live with his son Nathaniel, and he died there on 21 March 1829; he was buried in the family vault at Kew church where his gravestone can still be found.

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