A friend suggested, and we've confirmed, this portrait is of Samuel Johnson, (1709-1784). Illustrious English writer, he lies at rest in Westminster Abbey.
Samuel Johnson, often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer. Religiously, he was a devout Anglican, and politically a committed Tory.
A magnificent work of art, this small painting is a c.1750 - 1800 gentleman in the full style of his time, Georgian England, peer era to the framing of the US Constitution in America. With all the find detail of a full-sized portrait yet the head of this gentleman is not even 1" high. It's fascinating to me to think anyone could capture so much in a painting so tiny. Yet, of course, these are the portraits of the pre-photography era, when the only thing that saves these individuals from obscurity is the last work of the miniaturist's skill. Would that he or she had signed this one. Alas, unless it's on the back, there isn't a signature nor an ID of our very distinguished subject. The painting is set into a simple but elegant rolled gold or pinchbeck frame that makes it a large brooch. Measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. The painting is superb and undamaged, though you see one dark spot that is original to the painting process - a slight slip of the artist's hand, probably when the painting was at or near completion. The thick and convex cover glass is in fine condition, as well, as you can see. The outer frame is not karat gold, but is pinchbeck or rolled gold. A pin back with c-clamp, beautifully preserved, ready to wear or display.
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