Portrait of the Trench sisters c.1720; Attributed ...

Item Ref
9197

This is a charming double portrait of the Trench sisters, they look out at the viewer, completely at ease. The subdued, almost pastel, colouring of their clothes and the youth of the attractive sitters, convey a sense of peace.
The elder holds some pearls, in addition to the ones she wears. The pearl is a symbol of perfection, virginity, and incorruptibility; it is a symbol of long life and fertility, and because of its lustre it is often considered a moon symbol. Buried within the oyster shell, the pearl represents hidden knowledge, and it is highly feminine.
The younger sister, also wearing pearls, holds a sprig of jasmine, which, in the language of flowers, symbolises amiability of character.
Both sisters wear flowers in their hair signifying their youth and future fertility.
The sitters are the daughters of Samuel Trench of Ducketts, one of whom, Susan (1713-1753) presumably the younger sister, married John Berney of Bracon Hall, Norfolk.
The manor of Ducketts had come into the possession of the Trench family in 1660, passing to Samuel who died in 1741, most of the estate then passed to Susan and her husband John Berney.

ROBERT BYNG (1666 - 1720) was born in Wiltshire, but is buried in Oxford where he died in 1720, having lived there since before 1714.
He was a pupil of, and very strongly influenced by, Sir Godfrey Kneller (Principal Painter to the King and the most distinguished Baroque portraitist in England).
Byng's earliest dated portraits are c.1697; one of his younger brothers, Edward, was drapery painter to Kneller and his principal assistant.

SIZE: 51 x 44.5 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: by descent through the family.
£16,500

Portrait of Alexander Pope c.1716; Studio of ...

Item Ref
Pope

From the Studio of SIR GODFREY KNELLER.
Kneller (1646-1723) was a leading portrait painter during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. He was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to the Crown by Charles II. Kneller’s studio was well established and prolific in their production of portraits. The prime version of this painting, which was executed in 1716 and owned by Pope himself, is now untraced. It is almost certainly that referred to by Pope in his letter to John Carlyll: ‘Kneller has made me a fine present of a picture’.
Other studio versions exist, including that at Raby Castle, Staindrop, and The British Library. The image was widely dispersed after it was engraved by John Raphael Smith in 1717.
Pope wears, instead of his wig, a velvet cap. In portraiture this 'at home' headgear came to indicate that the sitter was a man of letters or of the arts.

ALEXANDER POPE (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) is regarded as one of the greatest English poets, and the foremost poet of the early eighteenth century. He is best known for his satirical and discursive poetry, including The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, and An Essay on Criticism, as well as for his translation of Homer. After Shakespeare, Pope is the second-most quoted writer in the English language, per The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations,[ some of his verses having even become popular idioms in common parlance (e.g., Damning with faint praise). He is considered a master of the heroic couplet.

In May 1709, Pope's Pastorals was published in the sixth part of bookseller Jacob Tonson's Poetical Miscellanies. This earned Pope instant fame and was followed by An Essay on Criticism, published in May 1711, which was equally well received.
During Pope's friendship with Joseph Addison, he contributed to Addison's play Cato, as well as writing for The Guardian and The Spectator. Around this time, he began the work of translating the Iliad, which was a painstaking process – publication began in 1715 and did not end until 1720. Pope had been fascinated by Homer since childhood. In 1713, he announced his plans to publish a translation of the Iliad. The work would be available by subscription, with one volume appearing every year over the course of six years. Pope secured a revolutionary deal with the publisher Bernard Lintot, which earned him two hundred guineas (£210) a volume, a vast sum at the time.
The money made from his translation of Homer allowed Pope to move in 1719 to a villa at Twickenham, where he created his now famous grotto and gardens. The serendipitous discovery of a spring during the excavation of the subterranean retreat enabled it to be filled with the relaxing sound of trickling water, which would quietly echo around the chambers.

SIZE: 30 x 25 inches canvas; 35.5 x 30 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, USA.
£5,350