A Fine 18thC Oil on Canvas Portrait of a Gentleman c.1760-90

Origin: English
Period: George III
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1760-90
Canvas: 17.5 inches x 14 inches

The beautifully realised eighteenth century oil on canvas portrait of a middle-aged gentleman, presented unframed, the subject with a full head of black long hair in a black overcoat with a white neckerchief, the work apparently unsigned, survives from George III period England.

The picture is a little dirty and if cleaned would become something slightly different, with the sitters hair becoming more apparent for instance, but it is in this condition that we simply love. There is a good deal of craquelure to the paintings surface and around the edges there are some minor losses. There are no holes or patches to the canvas though there is some over-painting to a repaired area to the side of the sitter’s right eye. There are a couple of numbers on stickers verso but they are seemingly meaningless and are probably ex gallery or stock labels.

The hand at work here is very accomplished. The style and execution is quite free and painterly for a portrait of this period and that illustrates a self-confidence in the artist’s own ability. There is certainly a sadness behind the eyes and also a kindliness which isn’t immediately apparent, in fact at first glance one would be forgiven for thinking that the sitter wanted to be portrayed somewhat hard-nosed. The finished picture gives the subject gravitas, nobility and a quite definite melancholy gait. This is all down to the artist’s obvious skill and the way the face is emerging from the shadowy ground.

A very capable portrait and one that is able to reveal a great deal about the sitters manner by the wonderful way it is executed.