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