Very little is known about the life and career of Sophia Howell, although she was clearly a professional artist, exhibiting at the Royal Academy for 7 years. Her work is extremely rare, with no examples appearing on the market in living memory.

The lexicographers, Basil Long and Leo Schidlof, as well as Daphne Foskett who illustrated this work in her Dictionary, note examples by her in their seminal texts. Of the present miniature, Foskett states; ‘The miniature is well painted and expressive. Note the cravat and striped lapel to the jacket.’[1] Indeed, the gorgeously decorative underlining of the cut collar draws the eye from the sitter’s face down to the wide revers, turned back from the coat front. Burrowed within the protruding collar is a simple and elegant cravat, as was the fashion during the later 18th century.

The fine brushwork is sympathetic toward the sitter’s soft features, whilst daring and bold in the rendering of the...

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Very little is known about the life and career of Sophia Howell, although she was clearly a professional artist, exhibiting at the Royal Academy for 7 years. Her work is extremely rare, with no examples appearing on the market in living memory.

The lexicographers, Basil Long and Leo Schidlof, as well as Daphne Foskett who illustrated this work in her Dictionary, note examples by her in their seminal texts. Of the present miniature, Foskett states; ‘The miniature is well painted and expressive. Note the cravat and striped lapel to the jacket.’[1] Indeed, the gorgeously decorative underlining of the cut collar draws the eye from the sitter’s face down to the wide revers, turned back from the coat front. Burrowed within the protruding collar is a simple and elegant cravat, as was the fashion during the later 18th century.

The fine brushwork is sympathetic toward the sitter’s soft features, whilst daring and bold in the rendering of the costume. The gentleman’s slightly pursed, orange-pink lips contrast pleasingly with the blue tones featured in the costume and background.

[1] D. Foskett, Miniatures Dictionary and Guide (Suffolk: The Antique Collectors Club Ltd., 1987) p.191.

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500 Years of British Art