This beautifully preserved portrait miniature is still contained in its original gold locket case, the sitter’s identity only known by a single initial ‘W’. John was the nephew of George Engleheart, one of the most successful and prolific miniature painters of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He trained in his uncle’s studio but was proficient enough to begin his own practice by around 1807 and precocious enough to exhibit his first work at the Royal Academy when in his late teens (1802).

A few years after painting the present work, John Cox Dillman was forced to retire from the profession and did not exhibit after 1828. His work appears quite different to that of his uncle’s, his palette darker with glossy watercolour and a careful attention to detail. An important new study was made of his life and work in 2016 by Roger Phillips and Carmela Arturi, published as George Engleheart and His Nephew John Cox Dillman Engleheart.

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This beautifully preserved portrait miniature is still contained in its original gold locket case, the sitter’s identity only known by a single initial ‘W’. John was the nephew of George Engleheart, one of the most successful and prolific miniature painters of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He trained in his uncle’s studio but was proficient enough to begin his own practice by around 1807 and precocious enough to exhibit his first work at the Royal Academy when in his late teens (1802).

A few years after painting the present work, John Cox Dillman was forced to retire from the profession and did not exhibit after 1828. His work appears quite different to that of his uncle’s, his palette darker with glossy watercolour and a careful attention to detail. An important new study was made of his life and work in 2016 by Roger Phillips and Carmela Arturi, published as George Engleheart and His Nephew John Cox Dillman Engleheart.

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500 Years of British Art