Portrait of a Young Lady c.1900, by ...

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A very fine portrait by the American artist Frank Desch, signed lower left. The attractive young sitter, positively glowing with happiness, proudly displays her engagement and marriage rings. There is little doubt this portrait was commissioned to commemorate her wedding.
Desch was strongly influenced by the French Impressionists, and indeed, the background is typical of the work of Matisse.
The portrait was painted in Paris and is the French great grandmother of the lady from whom I bought this painting. It is in superb condition, in its original French plaster frame; the canvas has never been lined, and now the old discoloured varnish has been removed, and the original surface revealed, the painting can be seen as vibrant as the day it was created.

FRANK DESCH (1873-1934) was a painter born in 1873 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts and later in New York City, and studied under William Merritt Chase and Charles Hawthorne, and Louis Francois Biloul in Paris. Later he worked for the Saturday Evening Post. He often worked in oil, watercolour and pastels, and frequently depicted genre, figurative and floral subjects.

Member: Allied Artists of America; Provincetown Art Association.
Exhibited: Art Institute of Chicago, 1914, 1921, 1923, 1925; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art 1923; Salmagundi Club, 1924 (prize); Corcoran Gallery, 1919, 1921; Florida Federation of Art, Miami, 1930 (prize).

SIZE: 39 x 34 x 3.25 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: by direct descent through the family.


James II armchair c.1685.

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An elegant armchair of the James II period, c.1685, tall and graceful, this was an important new stage in English chair design.
This style of cane backed and seated chairs had represented a revolution in seating comfort, but with the disadvantage of fragility.
A surprising number of these chairs still exist (they were made in their thousands) but many are now suitable only for decorative purposes as woodworm, frequent recaning, and damage to the joints and the tall backs have rendered them virtually unusable.This is not the case with this one. This chair, over 300 years old, with its glorious sculptural quality, is not just a joy to look at but also to use. Beneath the later drop in upholstered seat the original caning survives
As usual with these chairs there are signs of old woodworm, but now defunct.
The crest rail is carved with the highly fashionable 'boyes and crown'. This, and the front rail, are deftly executed with bold cuts of the chisel. This is typical of the sort of carving performed by London chairmakers at this period, by which maximum effect is achieved with the minimum of work.

DIMENSIONS: 46 inches tall, 23 inches wide, 25 inches deep.
PROVENANCE: Old Yorkshire Private Collection.

SOLD.....Portrait of a Lady c.1675; Circle of ...

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Oil on canvas in carved giltwood frame.

The fashionably, and expensively, dressed young lady is depicted as Diana the Huntress, goddess of the hunt, moon and birthing.
The sitter holds a bow and her hunting dogs are by her side.
The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connection with light, inaccessibility, virginity, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. She is seen as active in ensuring the succession of kings and in the preservation of humankind through the protection of childbirth.

At this time in the 17th century to have oneself painted as a character from myth, legend or even as a saint was the height of fashion.

HENRI GASCAR (1635 – 1 Jan 1701) (also Gascard, Gascars) was a French-born portrait painter who achieved artistic success in England during the reign of Charles II.
He painted many leading ladies at court, including several of the King's mistresses.
Gascar came to England about 1674, probably at the behest of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, Charles II's favourite mistress at that time. Gascar (or Gascard, as he seems to have spelt his name at first) was already known as a skillful portrait-painter.

His flamboyant style, contrasting with the stolid English approach, seemed to suit the frivolity of the time and he painted many of the ladies of Charles II's court. His lack of attention to detail in the likeness he made up for by the sumptuous draperies and adornments around the subject.

On his return to Paris, Gascar was elected a member of the Académie Royale on 26 October 1680. He subsequently went to Rome, where he enjoyed a high reputation, and died there in January 1701, aged 66.

SIZE: 34 x 29 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Berkshire.

SOLD....Portrait of Lady Shepherd c. 1675; Follower ...

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Oil on canvas in good quality carved and giltwood period frame.

A charming painting of a young woman, (possibly Lady Shepherd), typical of its period, by an artist strongly influenced by Lely.

Sir Peter Lely (1618 - 1680) was the dominant Court and Society portraitist of the reign of Charles ll. He was made Principal Painter to the King in 1661, and knighted in 1680.
His influence on the portraiture of the period was immense.

SIZE: 38 x 33 inches inc. frame

PROVENANCE: An Oxfordshire Private Collection.
Verso: an old label 'Lady Shepherd'.

Portrait of Mr. Dennis c.1695, by Sir ...

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Oil on canvas in a fine period carved and giltwood frame.
A remarkably insightful portrait in which a real sense of the character of the sitter is shown; not a mere fashionable cypher..."A Whig in a Wig"..this is a real person.

Verso; an old handwritten label "Mr. Dennis who married a Daughter of Sir John Houblon".

John Houblon was born in 1632 to a strictly Protestant family, and raised into the family business of merchant shipping. Samuel Pepys made frequent references to the Houblon family, most notably when they bailed him out of imprisonment in the Tower of London.

John later married Marie, the daughter of a Flemish refugee and acquired the lease on a house in Threadneedle Street in 1671. As a prominent merchant, he became renowned in London for his fair business dealings and generous public spirit, and his standing in the community grew, resulting in a knighthood in 1689.

Sir John then became Lord Mayor of London in 1695 and was a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty between 1693 and 1699. When the Bill for the foundation of a national Bank was approved in Parliament, Sir John was instrumental in both financial investment and creating the managing structure, taking up his position as the first ever Governor of the Bank of England on Tuesday 10th July 1694.

After the death of Lady Houblon in 1732 Sir John Houblon’s house and gardens became the site of the Bank of England, and remains so to this day. A portrait of Sir John was on the £50 note for 20 years until 2014. The design on the back of the Houblon note even featured an image of his original house in Threadneedle Street.

SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1646-1723) studied under Ferdinand Bol, and perhaps Rembrandt himself in the 1660s. He was in Rome and Venice between 1672 and 1675, settling in England in 1676 for life. He was soon employed at Court and became the most successful portraitist of the generation following Lely. He enjoyed the office of Principal Painter, at first jointly with John Riley (d.1691), from shortly after the accession of William and Mary in 1688 until his death. He was knighted in 1692 and became a baronet in 1715.
His work fully expresses the spirit of the English Baroque, and includes penetrating studies of many of the leading figures of Whig Society such as the famous Kit-Kat portraits now in the National Portrait Gallery (Beningborough Hall, Yorkshire), which include the likenesses of Sir John Vanbrugh, Charles 3rd Earl of Carlisle, and others.

SIZE: 37 x 32 x 2.25 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Collection of a deceased Professor of an Oxford College.

SOLD...Double portrait of King Charles I and ...

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Oil on canvas in period black and gilt frame.
The sitters are Charles Stuart, (son of James I and Anne of Denmark) and his wife Henrietta Maria, (sister of Louis XIII of France and daughter of Henri IV and Marie de' Medici).

A good 18th-century copy after the famous 17th c. original attributed to the School of Van Dyck in the Pitti Palace, Florence.

(See M. Chiarini & S. Padovani, 'La Galleria Palatina e gli Appartamenti Reali di Palazzo Pitti: Catalogo dei Dipinti', Florence 2003, p. 162, cat. no. 256, reproduced).

SIR ANTHONY VAN DYKE (1599-1641) was the greatest master of the European baroque portrait. Born in Antwerp, he first visited England in 1620. In 1632 he entered the service of King Charles I as Court Painter, and was knighted in 1633.
His clientele was essentially the aristocratic circle of courtiers, many of whom lived in a romantic royalist dream world which collapsed in ruins in the Civil War, soon after Van Dyck's death.
Sir Anthony Van Dyke's influence on the art of the portrait is almost beyond measure.

SIZE: 29.5 x 35.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Italian Private Collection.


Portrait of a Young Lady c.1735; Circle ...

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Oil on canvas in carved and giltwood frame.

A charming portrait, a full-length "in little", of an attractive young woman, with a house and garden to her left.
Dressed in the height of fashion, the lady allows an elegantly shod foot to peep from beneath her silk gown.

CHARLES PHILIPS (1708-1747), the son of painter Richard Philips, was fortunate enough to receive the patronage of Frederick, Prince of Wales, then the most significant patron of the arts in England, upon his arrival in England. His association with the royal coterie resulted in his success amongst the fashionable circles of society which included the Duke of Marlborough and the Duke of Somerset. Philips produced a number of small scale full-length portraits which demonstrate his skill and attention to detail.

Philips work in both small and large-scale formats contains a certain naive charm, which, combined with the sense of formality seen here, fitted well into the prevailing English taste.
Like most followers of Kneller and the ‘St Martin’s Lane School’, Philip’s portraits are often simply composed, with distinctly drawn eyes and the liberal use of red for details such as the lips and eyes. His direct, if uncomplicated, characterisations proved popular.
He married in 1738 and established a practice at Lincoln's Inn Fields.

SIZE:34 x 26 inches inc. frame.

*Collection of Sir Hughes Stanton R.A. (1870-1937).
*Purchased by the Wadsworth Atheneaum with funds from The Ella Gallup Summer and Mary Catlin Summer Fund, 1940.
*Sotheby's New York, 28 May 1999.
*Private Collection.

Verso: Old labels of the Wadsworth Atheneaum, Hartford, Connecticut, USA incorrectly naming the artist as Francis Hayman R.A.

SOLD...Portrait of a Lady c.1628; attributed to ...

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Oil on oak panel in fine 18th c. carved and giltwood frame.

A superb portrait typical of de Vos's style, the brushwork detailed, sensitive and rich in nuances, his colouring is ardent and full-bodied in the Flemish manner. His portraits glow with an air of prosperity and well-being.
De Vos was well-known for dignified portraits which nevertheless maintain a charming modesty, as is seen here. The reserved expression of the sitter and meticulous handling of the costume details are characteristic.

CORNELIS DE VOS (1585 - 1651) was admitted as a Master of the Antwerp Guild in 1606. In the early 17th century Antwerp was crowded with excellent painters. The art-loving wealthy merchants of the great trading city were able to employ a sizeable population of artists, who were also kept busy by the foreign demand for works of art from Antwerp.
Cornelis de Vos became one of the most respected artists in the city, whilst also active as an art dealer.
He worked with Rubens and Van Dyck, and his work has been mistaken for theirs, although his portraits are more closely dependent on the Flemish tradition than his celebrated Italianate colleagues.
Essentially of the School of Rubens, de Vos's portraits developed an individual and successful style and Rubens sent many sitters to him.

SIZE: 30 x 26 inc. frame.

Verso: an old collection seal in red wax, probably 18th century.

Private Collection, Cornwall.
Boarsney House, Sussex.


SOLD...Portrait said to be of Mrs. McFarlane, ...

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Oil on canvas in feigned oval within old 18th c. style gilt frame.

The sitter may possibly be Mary Halkett, daughter of Sir Charles Halkett, the first baronet, knighted by King Charles ll. Sir Charles married Janet Murray, daughter of Sir Patrick Murray of Dryden; she bore him seven children.
The Halketts are a family of ancient lineage, in Scotland by the 13th century and settled at Pitfirrane in the 14th. The family seat was a small castle or tower house sold in 1951 when Lady Madeleine Halkett died; it is now a golf club.

WILLIAM AIKMAN (1682-1731) was a Scottish portrait painter, only son of the Laird of Cairney, Forfar where he was born. He developed a passion for painting and studied under Medina, sold the family estate and went to Rome in 1707 for three years. He settled in Edinburgh in 1712 and was an excellent taker of likenesses, the best Edinburgh portraitist of his time, painting most of the nobility, gentry and lawyers.
In 1723, encouraged by the Duke of Argyll, he moved to London where he was not only patronised by Scots, but became well known in literary circles and the friend of Pope, Gray, Thomson and others.
He died in London but by his wish was buried in Grey Friars Church, Edinburgh.

This portrait, with its painterly delight in manipulating the medium, shows a more bravura approach than his later style in London when he adopted a 'smoother' manner consciously emulating Sir Godfrey Kneller, Principal Painter to the King.

Size:38 x 33 inc. frame.
Provenance: by descent, Scottish private collection. Verso: fragment of 19th c. Edinburgh framer's label.


SOLD....Portrait of Miss Harriet Tatnall "The Primrose ...

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Oil on canvas in superbly carved giltwood frame bearing plaque "The Primrose Girl. Miss Harriet Tatnall circa 1780. Sir William Beechey 1753-1839".

The little girl, dressed very fashionably, is out gathering primroses; in the background is a medieaval fortified manor house. This may represent Harriet's ancestral home as the Tatnalls were an ancient family. First found in Cheshire, they were Lords of the Manor of Tattenhall before and after the Norman Conquest of 1066.

SIR WILLIAM BEECHEY RA FSA (1753-1839). He was born in Burford, Oxfordshire; he entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1774. Many of his earlier portraits (c.1776-1786) are, like this one, small scale full-lengths and show a debt to his teacher, Zoffany.
After some years in London he moved to Norwich, then a very important city, where he enjoyed a good practice painting conversation pieces, and life size portraits from c.1783. He retiuned to London in 1787 and worked from Brook Street. he became extremely successful and moved to Hill Street, Berkeley Square, the to Hanover Square and ultimately to Harley Street.
He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1793, then RA in 1798 and was knighted in 1798 (the first artist to receive this honour since Reynolds).
Beechey was appointed Portrait Painter to Queen Charlotte in 1793 and by 1814 Portrait Painter to Her Majesty and to HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

SIZE: 38.5 x 32.75 inches inc. frame
canvas size 30 x 25 inches.
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection.


Portrait of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland ...

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Oil on canvas in a modern reproduction frame.

As the most notorious and most frequently painted of King Charles II's mistresses, Barbara Villiers Duchess of Cleveland remains one of the most enduring symbols of the indulgences and excesses of the Restoration Court. This portrait derives from a work by Sir Peter Lely painted c.1662.
A portrait, identical to this one, apart from being painted within a feigned cartouche, sold at Bonhams in December 2003 for £10,157 including buyer's premium.

At the Restoration Villiers was established as the king's favourite mistress and despite his marriage to Catherine of Braganza and the jealousy of other courtiers, she maintained a powerful influence at Court. At least three of her children were acknowledged as his by the king and by 1665 she was termed the 'maitresse en titre'. Among her various liaisons was one in 1668 with the actor Charles Hart in retaliation for the king's growing attraction for actresses such as Moll Davis and Nell Gwyn.

In 1670 she was created Baroness Nonsuch, Countess of Southampton and Duchess of Cleveland. This was a reward for her services but also a compensation for retirement. By the early 1670s her influence had been entirely supplanted by Louise de Kéroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth. After this she spent some time in Paris before returning to England a few months before Charles II's death in 1685. On the death of her husband Roger, Earl of Castlemaine in 1705 she married Major-General Robert Fielding, a bigamist who was jailed for threatening and maltreating his wife. She died at Chiswick on 9th October 1709. Among her various illegitimate children by the King were the Duke of Grafton, the Duke of Southampton and Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, Countess of Lichfield.

Portraits of Villiers, and other of the king's mistresses, were much in demand and many copies were produced to satisfy this market. They were not cheap; Samuel Pepys could not afford one and had to settle for a print.

SIR PETER LELY (1618 - 1680) was the most important portraitist in the reign of Charles II, although he had painted portraits throughout the Commonwealth. Principal Painter to the King, he painted everyone of importance, maintaining a busy and active Studio to help with the huge demand for his portraits. Members of his Circle, and his Followers, many of them talented artists in their own right, emulated his style to supply this constant market.

SIZE: 35.25 x 30.75 x 2 inches including the frame.
*Derbyshire Private Collection. (Verso; a trade label for a now defunct Ticknall restoration studio).
*Sussex Private Collection.


SOLD....Portrait of a Scottish Nobleman 1627; by ...

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Oil on canvas in reproduction 'cassetta' frame of the correct type.
The canvas inscribed u.l. 'Aetatis. 29. / 1627'.
The form of the inscription is so specific to Adam de Colone as to be as reliable as a signature for the purposes of attribution.
At this period de Colone's work was in its fullest flowering, showing great subtleties of character in the sitters . This sensitivity was denied to many of his contemporaries.

This is a high quality portrait of a young man, almost certainly a member of the Scottish nobility, wearing a fine slashed doublet with expensive 'reticella' lace to collar and cuffs; his silk doublet and fine lace are indications of wealth and status and are carefully depicted.
In a period when black clothing was the fashion artists strove to depict the different nuances and textures of the fabrics as convincingly as possible.
They found that black is an ideal background with which to contrast the crisp white linen and rich lace and this dramatically accentuates the face and hand gestures. This extreme opposition between black and white is both austere and exciting, and is a characteristic feature of portraiture of this period.
The sitter's gold brocade sword belt adds a further touch of the dramatic.

ADAM DE COLONE (painting c.1613-1628) was a portraitist of Scottish sitters. He was born in Edinburgh (probably c.1593), son of Adriaen Vanson (James VI's Court Painter) and Susanna de Colone; he trained in the Netherlands in the tradtion of Miereveld. He returned to Scotland c.1622 and painted two portraits of King James in 1623, for which he was paid £60.
Colone has been identified as the painter of 23 portraits of Scottish upper nobility, one of which, 'George, 3rd Earl of Winton and his two sons', is associated with a payment to 'Adame the painter'; this is his finest portrait and can be seen in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, along with portraits of 'Anne Hay' and 'James VI'.

His earliest known portrait is a three-quarter length on panel of Sir William Stewart of Grantully of 1613, sold a few years ago at auction in Edinburgh to the art trade for £53,000.
The latest dated of his portraits is 1628, after which there is no further evidence of him.
Colone's work provided both competition and example to George Jamesone.

SIZE: 24.75 x 19.75 inches canvas size
33 x 28 inches frame size

Verso: old collection, exhibition and storage labels

PROVENANCE: Acquired from Shepherd Bros. in December 1912 by T.W. Bacon (1863-1950).
At East Riddlesden Hall 1962-99.
Sold by his executors in 2000.
A Private Collection 2000 - 2008

EXHIBITED: Loaned to the Union Club, Manchester 1950-1954.
Loaned to the National Trust for display at the 17th c. East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire from 1962 to 1999.