'The Cardinal'; a pottery bust by John ...

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A superb, and rare, artwork by John Fortnum, with a very powerful presence, it is pottery, but simulating charred wood...as if the bust had been rescued from a fire, but had been subject to great heat. It is, in appearance, timeless; it could date from the Italian Renaissance and be of wood, perhaps once painted; it could be, as it is, 33 years old...it moves effortlessly through a 600 year time span. It is a free standing 'trompe l'oeil' in that it hides its true material and presents us with a wide range of perceptions.
This is a very evocative sculpture which can inspire many messages … on art, survival, religion, life, apparent damage as enhancement....truly a very thought provoking item, as well as being a glorious sculpture.

Signed and dated '86; this is number 7 of a limited edition of 8. How many others have survived the last 33 years is not known.
"My Sculpture can be seen in some of the wildest landscapes in Britain, from the North Atlantic seascapes of the Orkney Isles to the North York Moors, where I have used the wind, rain, and oxidation as natural elements in Landscape sculpture. In my smaller more intimate sculptures the human body, with its architectural and structural aspects, is an underlying theme. I am fascinated by the alchemy of heat on materials. I enjoy using different materials and experimenting with a wide range of sculptural possibilities." John Fortnum, born 1945.
SIZE: 25.5 inches tall, 20 inches wide, 12 inches deep.
PROVENANCE: London Private Collection.

William and Mary marquetry mirror c.1695.

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This is an object of great beauty, the frame of good faded colour and patina, the glass appropriately and subtly distressed but throwing an excellent reflection. The slightly bevelled glass is almost certainly the original.
An antique mirror glass should not be perfect; the silvering is often worn. While there are ways to resilver an original glass, remember that slight blemishes or "diamond dusting" in an antique mirror is considered highly desirable.

Mirror glass was a great luxury during the late 17th century, for it was in short supply and, at the time, only produced and exported from Italy. A large example such as this rare William and Mary mirror would have belonged to a family of great wealth and prestige. Since the process to produce mirrored glass was so costly and labour-intensive, the frames that surrounded these treasured items were important in both function and design. It seems odd to modern minds that the mirror glass was much more valuable than the exquisite frames, which were there just to protect the glass.

When choosing a mirror for any room in your house, remember that mirrors give space...they don't take up space. A small rooms is instantly larger when a mirror is placed in it. A gloomy hall can be transformed by a judiciously placed mirror. Pier mirrors were often placed between windows where the wall was dark to add light and air. So, don't assume that your small room will need a small mirror; just the opposite may be true.

SIZE: 32.75 x 25.25 inches.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection.

Needlework picture c.1740

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Framed and under glass, this charming Early Georgian needlework shows a fashionably dressed lady in a garden; she sits, sheltered by trees, apparently not alarmed by the giant insects flying past her! Actually, insects and flowers were nearly always depicted out of scale in this manner.
The colours of this artwork are still remarkably strong, especially as it is nearly 300 years old; clearly previous owners have sensibly kept it out of strong light.

The frame is not of the same period, but is a fine piece of 19th century 'medieval' carving.

SIZE: 13 x 15 inches including the frame.
Needlework size: 7 x 9 inches
PROVENANCE: Private Collection for the last 45 years.

Chinese Lacquered Leather Document Box, Shanxi Province, ...

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This handsome Qing Dynasty document box, from the Shanxi region of China, has an aesthetically outstanding form. The domed rectangular shape has almost architectural characteristics defined by its refinement of line, proportion and curvilinear shaping.

This beautifully worn patination of the tightly stretched lacquered leather domed top has an elegant refinement. The vellum interior remains well preserved. After about 150 years of use inevitably there are some small damages to the leather top and one corner (both illustrated). The box remains completely unrestored in original state.

The stitching and metal ware are pared to a decorative and functional minimum, to enhance the elegantly simple lines. On the front is a cloud shaped lock with pin sets on a round metal plate.
Functionality is an imperative in Chinese antiques: these boxes were practical and decorative pieces for storage of valuables and documents, and they are equally suited for this today, being displayed on desks, mantelpieces and tables. Their simplicity of shape and lustre of mellowed leather finish complements both Asian and Western interior design.
The box also represents a good example of how lacquer finish was used to preserve and decorate accessories. Most Qing dynasty lacquered antiques were either red, which was made by adding cinnabar to the almost transparent lacquer, or black , made by the addition of iron oxide to lacquer.

These type of boxes have their origins with the pillow boxes: unlike the West hard pillows were used...over time Chinese pillows have been made of wood, jade porcelain, bamboo and lacquered-leather, and were originally concave or dome shaped. This shape both cradled the neck and protected the elaborate arrangements of hair in both men and women of high rank. As an added benefit they could contain small valuables while their owner slept, providing an element of peace of mind regarding security.

SIZE: 16.5 wide x 5 tall x 5.5 inches deep.
PROVENANCE: From a deceased Hampshire collection, brought from China by the collector in person about 20 years ago.


Portrait of a Young Boy and His ...

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Oil on canvas in the original giltwood frame.
An endearing naïve portrait of a child and his pet dog. The artist has managed with the human figure but depicting the dog has stretched his talent to the utmost.
A charming touch is that the sitter is wearing a pair of toy spurs; perhaps they were a new acquisition and he insisted on wearing them...they certainly feature strongly.

SIZE: 36.5 x 30.25 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: A Kent country house.

Portrait of a Gentleman c.1680, by Mary ...

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A fine portrait by Mary Beale, in its original carved and giltwood frame. The sitter is depicted within a feigned stone oval ... a fashionable conceit much used by Beale and Lely.
The canvas is a coarse weave, often used by the artist. It may be 'onion bag', 'sacking' or 'Osnabrug', three of the types mentioned in the notes kept by Mary's husband, Charles Beale, who organised the purchase of her materials and primed the raw canvases. 'Osnabrug' was a coarse cloth of linen or hemp, manufactured in Osnabruck in Germany.

MARY BEALE (1633-1699) was born in Barrow, Suffolk, the daughter of John Cradock, a Puritan rector. Her mother, Dorothy, died when she was 10. Her father was an amateur painter, and member of the Painter-Stainers' Company, and she was acquainted with local artists, such as Nathaniel Thach, Matthew Snelling, Robert Walker and Peter Lely. In 1652, at the age of 18, she married Charles Beale, a cloth merchant from London - also an amateur painter.

She became a semi-professional portrait painter in the 1650s and 1660s, working from her home, first in Covent Garden and later in Fleet Street. Mary Beale was not the only female painter in England, but her name has survived as that of the only woman to make a successful living, and to enjoy a flourishing practice as a portraitist.
She became reacquainted with Sir Peter Lely, now Court Artist to Charles II. Her later work is heavily influenced by Lely, being mainly small portraits. He was Beale’s strongest artistic supporter. The friendship between Lely and Mary Beale enabled her, famously, to observe the master in the act of painting – a remarkable privilege – in order to study his technique. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that many of her portraits have been misattributed to Lely or his Studio .She was widely reckoned to be Van Dyck's most accomplished copyist. Her grasp of Lely's colouring is evident, but the pleasant and direct manner in which she treats her sitters is entirely her own.

Beale was also a talented and intelligent writer, completing her ‘Discourse on Friendship’ [British Library] in 1667, in which she discusses friendship. Mary and her husband believed strongly in equality between man and wife, as shown by Mary’s ‘Essay on Friendship’. Without such equality, Mary believed, true friendship could not exist; ‘This being the perfection of friendship that it supposes its professors equal, laying aside all distance, & so levelling the ground, that neither hath therein the advantage of other.’

SIZE: 34 x 28.5 x 1.75 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: Hillsleigh, The Hill, Burford, Oxfordshire.

Portrait of a Lady of the Palmer ...

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The lady is traditionally identified as a member of the Palmer family of Dorney Court, Berkshire.
The sitter, fashionably dressed in her daring 'undress', looks confidently at the viewer. This is a good example of the typical society portrait of the time and representative of Murray's best work. The use of the feigned stone oval was typical of the period.
The hand carved and gilded frame is a work of art in its own right.

THOMAS MURRAY 1663 – 1734.
He received his first lessons in art from one of the De Critz family. Subsequently he became a pupil of John Riley.
His works of before 1700 are more independent of the style of Sir Godfrey Kneller than his later portraits
Murray was successful financially. He died in June 1734, leaving no children, and bequeathed his money to a nephew, with instructions that his monument, with a bust, should be erected in Westminster Abbey, provided that it did not cost too much. His nephew, however, taking him at his word, buried him in St. Paul's, Covent Garden, and found the monument too expensive to erect.
SIZE: 34.5 x 29.5 inches including frame.
PROVENANCE: Horton Lodge, Windsor, Berkshire.

Portrait of Elizabeth Curteis (nee Papillon), 1748, ...

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A high quality oil on canvas in the original fine carved and giltwood frame. Almost certainly painted on the occasion of Elizabeth's marriage .
This portrait is a good example of Knapton's best work, perceptive and insightful of the character of the attractive young sitter.
The dress would have been painted by Joseph van Aken, the noted specialist drapery painter. Drapery painters were specialist painters who completed the dress, costumes and other accessories worn by the subjects of portrait paintings. They worked for portrait painters with a large clientele. Van Aken was recognised as one of the foremost drapery painters active in mid-18th-century England and was employed in that capacity by many leading and lesser known portrait painters of his time.

ElLIZABETH PAPILLON was born in 1724 and baptised on the 11th October, 1724 at St. Martin's Church, Acrise, Kent, England. She was the daughter of David Papillon (Fellow of the Royal Society and Member of Parliament) and Mary Keyser.
On the 18 Apr 1748 Rev. Thomas Curteis, Clerk, Rector of Sevenoaks, Kent, widower, (aged 30) married Elizabeth Papillon (aged 23) in the Diocese of Rochester, Kent, England.

A memorial on the floor of Sevenoaks Church, in black marble: "Beneath this marble are deposited the remains of the Rev'd Thomas Curteis, D.D. Who departed this life April the 27th, 1775, aged 69.”
“Likewise of Elizabeth his wife, who departed this life Sept. 1st 1786, Aged 62. Also the remains of Ann their Daughter, who died March 24th 1763, Aged 5 years and 8 months."

GEORGE KNAPTON (1668-1778) was an English portrait painter and the first portraitist for the Society of Dilettanti in the 1740s. He became Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures from 1765 to 1778.
Knapton's largest painting was that of The Family of Frederick, Prince of Wales (1751, Royal Collection). He also painted portraits of the Earl of Upper Ossory (with his brother and sister), the Earl of Burlington, Admiral Sir John Norris, Francis, Fifth Duke of Leeds, Admiral George Vandeput, Archibald Bower, Nicolas Tindal, Hildebrand Jacob, Admiral Edward Hawke, and the singers Carestini and Lisabetta du Parc. For his portraits, he employed the specialist drapery painter Joseph Van Aken to paint the dresses and costumes of his sitters.

SIZE:38 x 32 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: From a Private Collection in France. The owner had bought the portrait at auction (Stephen Weisz) in Johannesburg; it had been consigned by a member of the Curteis family who lived in the area.

Portrait of a Young Gentleman by Frans ...

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Frans van der Mijn, (Myn) (1719 - 1783) was an 18th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands.

According to the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) he was the son of Herman van der Mijn and was born when his father moved to Düsseldorf to work for Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. He influenced the painter James Latham. He worked in Amsterdam during the years 1742-1748 and worked in the Hague before returning to England where he worked on portraits and sent a painting in to the London Society of Artists each year during 1761-1772.

In 1750 Johan van Gool wrote about him, his father, his brothers Robert, George, Andreas and Gerard, and his sister Cornelia who were all good painters. He lived many years in England, and practised as a portrait painter, both in London and the country. He was some time at Norwich, where he painted several heads. He had considerable merit as an artist. He died in 1783.

SIZE: 34 x 28 x 2.5 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: Bears Christie's stencil verso.
Latterly in a Dorset Private Collection for as long as any member of the family can remember.

Portrait of a Young Gentleman c.1685; Attributed ...

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Oil on canvas in later giltwood frame.

The fashionable and expensively dressed sitter looks confidently out of the frame as if surveying his extensive lands.
His high wig (from which fashion came the expression 'big-wig' for someone important), his silks, his sword and particularly his stance, all make this the archetypal Baroque portrait.
The pose and treatment of the material are typical of Kerseboom. The hugely expensive lace is depicted with great care and skill.
This type of portrait was usually on a larger scale e.g. 50 x 40 inches; the fact that this is 'in small' suggests that it was for the 'cabinet'...the intimate room for favoured possessions that was so fashionable during the Baroque period. Perhaps painted for a wife or lover?

JOHN (JOHANN) KERSEBOOM (working 1680s - 1708) Born in Solingen, the Rhineland; came to England in the 1680s he quickly acquired a large portrait clientele. His patterns derive from Lely and Kneller, but his heads have recognisable individuality. He charged £16 10s for a framed 50 x 40 in 1694.

SIZE:canvas size; 20 x 16 inches.
24.25 x 20 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection.

Portrait of a Lady and her Child ...

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Oil on canvas in the original frame.
Painted very much in the style of Lawrence, this is an enchanting double portrait with great charm and a sense of intimacy.
The skin tones are beautifully rendered and the costly jewellery depicted with with great care and accuracy. The young mother looks off to her right whilst her child, toying with a ring on the mother's hand, looks directly at us from across the centuries.

GEORGE HENRY HARLOW (1787-1819), was a highly-regarded English portrait painter.
He was born in St. James's Street, London, on 10 June 1787 and was for a short time at Westminster School, but having shown a predilection for painting, he was placed under Henry De Cort, the landscape-painter. He next worked under Samuel Drummond, A.R.A., the portrait-painter, but after about a year entered the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.
Harlow determined to devote himself to painting, he remained for about eighteen months in Lawrence's studio, copying his pictures, and occasionally drawing preliminary portions of Lawrence's own productions. A difference about Harlow's work for one of Lawrence's pictures led to a breach with Lawrence.

Young, headstrong, and impatient of restraint, with a handsome person and amiable disposition, he was generally popular in society. He worked, however, with industry and enthusiasm in his art.
He exhibited for the first time at the Academy in 1804, sending a portrait of Dr. Thornton. In later years he exhibited many other portraits; his portraits are well conceived, and, though much in the manner and style of Lawrence, have a character of their own. His portraits of ladies were always graceful and pleasing.

In 1818 Harlow visited Italy for the purpose of studying the old masters. At Rome his personal gifts and accomplishments made him the hero of the day. He was elected a member for merit of the Academy of St. Luke at Rome, a most unusual distinction for an English artist, and was invited to paint his own portrait for the Uffizi gallery of painters at Florence. His artistic progress in Italy was remarkable, but on his return to England on 13 Jan. 1819 he was seized with a glandular affection of the throat, which proved fatal on 4 Feb.
He was in his thirty-second year. He was buried under the altar of St. James's, Piccadilly, and his funeral was attended by the eminent artists of the day.
Many of his portraits have been engraved, and those of James Northcote, Fuseli, Thomas Stothard, William Beechey, John Flaxman, and others are highly esteemed. His own portrait, painted by himself for the gallery at Florence, was engraved for Ranalli's Imperiale e Reale Galleria di Firenze.

SIZE: 42 x 35.5 inches including frame.
PROVENANCE: London Private Collection.
Verso: old labels for James Bourlet (storage) and the name of a previous owner and her Holland Park address in London (c.1950)

Portrait of a Lady c.1755, by William ...

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Pastel on paper in a fine gilded frame, both in superb condition.

The sitter is, as yet, unknown. Although painted in the mid 18th century she has chosen to depicted in the high fashion of a previous century; there was a craze for this at the time.
This is a portrait of the highest calibre and the sitter is sensitively portrayed. This beautifully preserved example of Hoare’s work demonstrates why he was so in demand by contemporaries and considered the finest exponent of the ‘darling modish study’ of pastel.

WILLIAM HOARE of Bath RA (c. 1707 – 12 December 1792) was a British portraitist, painter and printmaker, noted for his pastels. Born near Eye, Suffolk, Hoare received a gentleman's education in Faringdon. He showed an aptitude for drawing and was sent to London to study under Giuseppe Grisoni, who had left Florence for London in 1715. When Grisoni returned to Italy in 1728, Hoare went with him, travelling to Rome and continuing his studies under the direction of Francesco Imperiali. He remained in Rome for nine years, returning to London in 1737/8.

William Hoare was the first fashionable portraitist to settle in Bath, and he was the leading portraitist there until the arrival of Thomas Gainsborough in 1759. He remained the favourite of his powerful patron the Duke of Newcastle, his family, followers and political associates. Included amongst his other important patrons were the Earls of Pembroke and Chesterfield, and the Duke of Beaufort. With Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, he was a founding member of the Royal Academy.
Hoare was closely involved with the running of the Royal Mineral Water Hospital in Bath from 1742. He served as a governor of the hospital, and became acquainted with Bath's notable visitors and the neighbouring landed families. Chalmers described him as 'an ingenious and amiable English painter'. He died at Bath on 12 December 1792.

SIZE: 33.5 x 27 x 3 inches.
PROVENANCE: With Peter Jones 1980s.
Private Collection.