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Portrait of a Lady c.1670; Attributed to Jacob Huysmans.
Oil on canvas in 18th century carved and giltwood frame.

Painted within a feigned carved stone oval, the sitter, probably a lady of the Court, is extravagantly and expensively dressed in the height of Court fashion, her dress trimmed with ermine. Her pearls, the quintessential Baroque ornament, are prominently displayed; with a confident half smile she looks serenely out at the viewer, a landscape in the background.

JACOB HUYSMANS (c.1633-c.1696) was born in Antwerp into a family of artists. He was the uncle of Jan-Baptiste and Cornelis Huysmans. He learned to paint from Gilles Backereel and Frans Wouters and moved to England after the Restoration, where he later influenced David des Granges (1611–1675).
By 1664 he was Court Painter to Catherine of Braganza (Queen to Charles ll). Painting mainly for the Catholic Queen and her Ladies-in-Waiting, Huysmans portraits often had a Continental Baroque feel.
When Samuel Pepys visited his workshop in Westminster on 26 August 1664, he described him as a 'picture-drawer ... said to exceed Lilly' (Sir Peter Lely, Principal Painter to Charles II).
Huysmans died in Jermyn Street, London, in 1696, and was buried in St. James's Church in Piccadilly.

SIZE: 35.5 x 30.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Southern English Private Collection.

Ref: 8688
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1680; Circle of John Michael Wright.
Oil on canvas in a gilt and ebonised frame.

The attractive sitter, expensively dressed and wearing pearls, the favourite jewel of the period, holds a red rose.
She holds the rose close to her heart and her expression is pensive. In addition to being fashionable, pearls were a symbol of purity, and the red rose symbolised love. Flowers in general also serve as a reminder of the rapid passing of time - that youth, and indeed life, is a fleeting thing. It seems likely that this charming portrait was painted for a lover...perhaps in anticipation of a marriage.

JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT (1617-1694) was one of the most successful native English artists of the seventeenth century. With earlier contemporaries such as Robert Walker and William Dobson, he was one of only a few English painters to find favour amongst the top echelons of society. At the height of his fame, he styled himself ‘Pictor Regius’ [The King’s Painter]
His career was all the more remarkable in an era when patrons continued their traditional preference for foreign artists, as they had done from Holbein to Van Dyck.
Wright’s success lay in his uniquely diverse artistic background and training. Although born in London, he first trained in Scotland under George Jamesone. He then left for Italy and stayed in Rome for a decade from 1642, working amongst contemporaries such as Poussin and Velazquez. In 1648 he became a member of the Academy of St Luke. He returned to London in 1656, after having spent time in France and Flanders. No other English artist before Wright had travelled and studied so extensively on the Continent.

SIZE:32.5 x 28.75 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE:Old collection, Worcestershire.
Ref: 8861
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1695, Attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller.
Oil on canvas in a later frame.

This captivating portrait, almost certainly by the leading late seventeenth and early eighteenth century Court artist, Sir Godfrey Kneller, has an extremely intimate quality.
By concentrating entirely on the features of the sitter, with no distractions from clothing or poses, we are in a direct one-to-one with this handsome lady.
The quality of the painting is superb, and the sensitive treatment gives us a feeling of insight into the sitter's character.

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),

SIZE: 22 x 20 inches inc. frame. Canvas size: 15 x 13 inches.
PROVENANCE:Private Collection, Sussex.
Ref: 8952
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1700; Follower of Sir Godfrey Kneller.
Oil on canvas in a carved 18th century frame.

A charming portrait of a young woman by a provincial artist strongly influenced by Sir Godfrey Kneller.
The sitter regards us with an expression of slightly surprised 'hauteur', her hand protectively at the neckline of her dress, as if we have caught her unaware.

SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1646-1723) was the most distinguished painter of baroque portraits in England.
Born in Lubeck, he trained with Bol and Rembrandt, coming to London in 1676.
By 1679 he had painted the King and remained the most famous and successful portrait painter in England until his death.
In 1688 he was made Principal Painter to the King and was knighted in 1692 and a made a baronet in 1715.
His style had a profound influence on British portraiture and a large number of artists, many very talented in their own right, emulated his fashionable style.

SIZE: 37.5 x 32 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Old collection, Oxfordshire.
VERSO: Old Christie's stencil and 19th century pencil inscription 'from inner hall'.
Old woodworm damage to the frame.
Ref: 8848
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1710: Follower of Michael Dahl.
Oil on canvas in a giltwood late 18th century frame bearing the incorrect inscription 'Sir Peter Lely'.
Originally an oval, the painting was made rectangular probably in the 18th or 19th century. There was a craze for having portraits re-framed en-suite, and this one was almost certainly a victim of that fashion.

This is a typical portrait of the period; the lady regards the viewer with a quiet confidence, her hair in the fashionable style as is her 'undress'. The robe open to show her chemise, and a silk wrap draped over one shoulder...this relaxed style of dressing for one's portrait was encouraged by artists as it was a lot easier and quicker to paint than elaborate formal daywear.

MICHAEL DAHL (1659-1743) was born in Stockholm; after studying in Paris, Rome and Frankfurt he settled in London in 1689. He soon became the best patronised portrait painter in England after Kneller. He was much employed at the Court painting many portraits; a great patron of the 1690s was the Duke of Somerset, for whom he painted the series of portraits of Court ladies known as the 'Petworth Beauties'.

His style is extremely close to Kneller but his interpretation of character is less brash and more human. He has a quieter but somehow more understanding appeal to character which relies on its own integrity to make its impact, and this unknown artist, emulating his style has managed to catch some of that.

SIZE: 33 x 27 x 2.5 inches including frame.
PROVENANCE: West Yorkshire Private Collection.
Ref: 8967
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1710; Attributed to Michael Dahl.
Oil on canvas in period carved giltwood frame.
The frame bears the attribution 'Sir G. Kneller' although this is more likely a work by Michael Dahl.

The unknown sitter, an attractive young woman, looks our at the viewer with an aristocratic hauteur.

This is the age of the 'Augustan' portrait (1690-1744) when the sitter expected to be 'elevated'...an expression of gravitas behind which was culture and intelligence. This was the English way...not for them the smiling, sometimes simpering, expressions painted by the French.

Joseph Addison, famous essayist, poet, playwright and politician and a man of letters sneeringly described French portraits as "very remarkable for their smiles and a certain smirking Air...bestowed indifferently on every Age and Degree of either sex. The Toujours Gai appeared even in Judges, Bishops and Privy Counsellors...every part of the Dress was in a Flutter, and endeavoured to distinguish itself above the rest."

MICHAEL DAHL (1659 - 1743).
Dahl was a painter of exceptional talent and regarded as the only really serious rival to Sir Godfrey Kneller, for royal patronage, during the years 1690-1714. Dahl's patterns were undoubtedly indebted to the fashion set by Kneller, but Dahl had a lighter palette, his brushwork applied in shorter and more careful strokes.
His self portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and he is famed for having painted a series of wonderful female portraits for the Duke of Somerset, now at Petworth House, and known as the Petworth Beauties.
Dahl's portraits of members of the royal family hang at Kensington Palace and Windsor and other examples of his work can be found at the Tate and National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Our thanks to James Mulraine, art historian.

SIZE: 37 x 32 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Sussex Private Collection.
Ref: 8677
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1720; Attributed to Jonathan Richardson
Oil on canvas in giltwood frame.

Painted in the reign of George I, the sitter, wearing a striking red mantle, looks out from an unusual feigned stone diamond; the common practice was for this to be an oval. She has an air of quiet confidence.

JONATHAN RICHARDSON (1665–1745) sometimes called "the Elder" to distinguish him from his son) was an English artist, collector of drawings, and writer on art, working almost entirely as a portrait-painter in London.
Richardson was born in 1666, but when he was about seven his father died and his mother married again. Richardson became a scrivener's apprentice, but he was released early when his master retired. Richardson was lucky enough to be taken on as a painting apprentice by John Riley. He learnt the art of portraiture from Riley whilst living at his master's house. Richardson's wife was Riley's niece.

Richardson was even more influential as a writer than as a painter according to Samuel Johnson. He is credited with inspiring Joshua Reynolds to paint and theorise with his 1715 book 'An Essay on the Theory of Painting'.

In 1731 he was considered by some art-critics as one of the three foremost painters of his time with Charles Jervas and Michael Dahl. He was the master of Thomas Hudson and George Knapton.

SIZE: 37 x 31.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Wiltshire.
Handwritten; 'Capt. Francis'
Another old label, handwritten in copperplate script 'No.4'
Ref: 8599
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1750; Attributed to Joseph Highmore.
Oil on canvas in a good quality hand carved and giltwood rococo frame.

The attractive sitter, expensively and fashionably dressed, looks out at the viewer with an air of quiet confidence, her head slightly turned almost in an inquiring manner. Behind her stand large stone columns, with a landscape view to her right, symbolising the wealth and power of the landed classes.

JOSEPH HIGHMORE (c.1692 - 1780) was one of the most talented and versatile English portraitists of the eighteenth century. He first trained, for five years, as a lawyer but abandoned the practice and entered Sir Godfrey Kneller's Academy in London in 1713. When he began work as a professional artist in 1715 he found his natural ability to draw a sharp likeness soon won him a large clientele in the City, while his legal education and manner helped gain access to the nobility and gentry. Such was his success that the poet John Bunce wrote the following verse soon after the death of Kneller in 1723;

“No more let Britain for her Kneller grieve
In Highmore see a rising Kneller live
Whose happy pencil claims as high a name
If equal merit challenge equal fame.”

Although Highmore’s style first followed that of Kneller (as did whole generations of early eighteenth century artists), he also assumed the more forceful and realistic characterisation of Hogarth. As a result, Highmore’s portraits soon lost much of the Augustan stiffness of Kneller, instead showing a more subtle and fluid construction. This portrait of the 1750s demonstrates a further evolution of Highmore’s style following his trip to France in 1734. Like many of his contemporaries, such as Hayman and later Gainsborough, Highmore was heavily influenced by the French rococo manner first popularised by the influential French painter and engraver Hubert Gravelot, who arrived in London in 1732.

SIZE: 40 x 35 x 2.75 inches.
PROVENANCE: From a Leicestershire country house; a deceased's estate.
VERSO: An old handwritten inventory label '41', an Old Christie's stencilled number, and a chalk inscription 'June 1 - 62'
Ref: 8963
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1810; Circle of Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A.
Oil on canvas in a reproduction gilt frame.

The sitter, wearing a fashionable 'Empire line' dress..the waistline just beneath the bust.. also sports an expensive Spanish lace shawl and costly jewellery.
Her hair style is equally 'a la mode' in the so-called Classical Roman fashion.

SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE P.R.A. (1769-1830) was a child prodigy. He was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper. At the age of ten, having moved to Bath, he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits. At eighteen he went to London and soon established his reputation as a portrait painter in oils, receiving his first royal commission, a portrait of Queen Charlotte, in 1790. He stayed at the top of his profession until his death, aged 60, in 1830.

Self-taught, he was a brilliant draughtsman and known for his gift of capturing a likeness, as well as his virtuoso handling of paint. He became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, a full member in 1794, and president in 1820. In 1810 he acquired the patronage of the Prince Regent, was sent abroad to paint portraits of allied leaders for the Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, and is particularly remembered as the Romantic portraitist of the Regency. Lawrence's love affairs were not happy (his tortuous relationships with Sally and Maria Siddons became the subject of several books) and, in spite of his success, he spent most of life deep in debt. He never married. At his death, Lawrence was the most fashionable portrait painter in Europe.

SIZE: 35 x 29.75 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Dorset.
Ref: 8913
This item has been sold

Portrait of a Lady c.1840; Follower of Richard Buckner.
Oil on canvas laid on board in fine gilded frame.

The attractive young sitter looks out in a composed and confident manner.
Her lace edged dress is decorated with a gem-set gold brooch and a rose, another one of which can just be seen at the edge of her bodice.

The artist, as yet unidentified, was clearly influenced by the work of the fashionable artist RICHARD BUCKNER (1812 - 1883).
Buckner first worked from a studio at his family home in Rumboldswhyke, near Chichester.
After a short spell in the army, he went to Rome where he studied under Giovanni Battista Canevari (1789-1876). He set up a studio there and quickly earned a reputation not only for his elegant portraits (e.g. Lady Charlotte Guest and her Daughter, priv. col., see Stewart and Cutten, p. 36) but also for his delicate watercolours of Italian peasants.
His work attracted the attention of important patrons including Queen Victoria and her husband Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Consort; Edward, Prince of Wales; Adelaide, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen ( fl 1860s), and William Alexander, 11th Duke of Hamilton.
Maas considers him one of the most cultivated of Victorian portrait painters "He was one of the few portrait painters of the 19th century whose work could hold its own when hung in country houses alongside the work of Reynolds and Gainsborough".

SIZE: 38.5 x 33.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection.
Ref: 8718
This item has been sold

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