portrait thought to be of benjamin clapham of braithwaite hall west witton yorkshire c1730 by john vanderbank

Portrait thought to be of Benjamin Clapham of Braithwaite Hall, West Witton, Yorkshire c1730, by John Vanderbank.



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Oil on canvas.
This is a superb quality portrait, typical of Vanderbank's finest work. At this period many portraits were produced, a large number of them depicted the sitters in a sterotypical, stylised manner. That is not the case here; with a remarkably contemporary feel to it, this is an extremely sensitive and talented painting.
The sitter regards us, as he did the artist, with a frank and level gaze.
The portrait has, at some time in the past, been reduced in size. However, this has not had an adverse effect on the image; on the contrary, as the sitter now fills his space within the frame it is as if he has moved closer to the viewer, creating a strong feeling of intimacy.
Braithwaite Hall can be seen in Image 6
JOHN VANDERBANK (1694-1739) was born in London into an artistic family at the close of the seventeenth century. The son of John Vanderbank Senior, the well known royal tapestry weaver, Vanderbank studied painting first with his father and the portrait painter Jonathan Richardson.
He was one of Godfrey Kneller's earliest pupils at the Academy of Painting from 1711, and in 1720, when Kneller’s academy began to decline, started his own Academy of painting in St. Martin's Lane.
Vanderbank himself was a very able draughtsman, who, in his prime, found his works favoured over those of Hogarth. His painting style followed on from the vigour and grand style of Kneller. His work, however, is characterised by a more vital and nervous drawing than many of his contemporaries, and by a bold pigmentation, particularly in the flesh, where pink tones are painted thinly over the cooler greys of the ground layer to suggest glowing skin – the technique of 'colori cangianti', derived via Rubens from the artists of the seicento. Equally distinctive in Vanderbank’s work is the placing of pure red pigments for the highlights.
It was noted by George Vertue that "only intemperance prevented Vanderbank from being the greatest portraitist of his generation." He died of tuberculosis in Holies Street, Cavendish Square, London, on 23 Dec. 1739, aged about 45, and was buried in Marylebone church.
SIZE: 23 x 21 inches including frame.
PROVENANCE: The Collection of Sir William Whitfield CBE, St Helen Hall, County Durham. (Image 7)
VERSO: Inscriptions identifying the sitter.
Internal Ref: 9176


Height = 58.5 cm (23")
Width = 53 cm (21")
Depth = 6 cm (3")

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