Georgian England, c. 1780-1820, this distinguished gentleman sat for his portrait. He must have been an important man, though his history has been lost through the centuries. The miniature portraits and paintings are of 2 types: 1: those painted 'apres' or 'after' the paintings of famous artists whose works on display in Europe's fine museums such as the Louvre) are copied and sold as souvenir miniature paintings for Grand Tour tourists, and 2: those commissioned by wealthy or notable citizens who wanted their likeness made. Remember, there were no photography options until after 1839 when Frenchman, Daguerre, perfected the first process of photography which bears his name (Daguerreotype). This is a commissioned painting, one of a kind, and is of a living person in his own time. Portraits in miniature were popular for political and business purpose, or as memento for a bride, groom, family member who may be far away. It was not uncommon for a young woman or man to leave their family home, bound for a future that might take them to distant parts of the country from which the ability to return 'home' would be remote if not impossible, and the painting is made by the parents. This one may well be a gentleman's painting done at the time of his marriage, and perhaps there was a companion one of his bride. In any case, it is a remarkably appealing painting with its haunting 'grisaille' or 'grey-tones' palette. A little eerie, one almost anticipates that if he smiled, he would show fangs. And all the more stunning with him against that golden light background, too. He virtually rises from the frame. Don't you love it!
Very good to excellent condition, painted in watercolor or guache on thin natural wafer, typical of the day and tradition. Original frame and cover glass - all in fine condition.