soldportrait of a young midshipman c1790 circle of lewis vaslet

SOLD....Portrait of a Young Midshipman c.1790; Circle of Lewis Vaslet.



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Oil on canvas in Georgian giltwood frame.
A charming small scale portrait of a young midshipman in the Royal Navy at the end of the 18th century, probably painted for the boy's parents before he joined his ship.
England was engaged in a long and bloody war with France and the navy was our first line of defence.
The life of a midshipman on a man-of-war could be very short indeed. As an apprentice officer the youth was expected to be able to climb the riggiing to act as a lookout, learn navigation and seamanship, command one of the ship's boats and in action he would command a group of the ship's guns, or take charge of signals or act as a messenger for the captain.
A lot of responsibility and risk at a very young age, but if he lived and rose through merit he could achieve high rank.
The good-looking sitter, sensitively painted, looks out at the viewer, his pensive gaze encouraging thoughts of his extreme youth and vulnerability on active service at sea, but the boy also projects an air of quiet determination and confidence.
LEWIS VASLET (VASLETTE) 1742-1808. Born in York, he became a lieutenant in the 25th Regiment of Foot. Leaving the army, he travelled to Italy. He exhibited ten times at the Royal Academy between 1770 and 1782. He worked from York in 1770, 1771 and 1778, Bath 1787, Norwich 1793 and Oxford1780, 1790 and 1796 where he advertised himself as an 'artist in miniature and likenesses' working in oils and pastels. He married a lady of means. Buried at St. Michael's, Bath in 1808.
"His style is usually accomplished, charmingly naive with pleasantly subdued colouring" (The Dictionary of Portrait Painters in Britain).
SIZE: 11 x 9 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Somerset Private Collection
Internal Ref: 8559

This item is SOLD and is no longer available to purchase.

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