A Good 19thC English School Oil on Canvas Portrait of a Gentleman c.1830-40

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Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1835-45
Canvas Height: 29.5 inches
Canvas Width: 24.5 inches
In Frame: 37.75 x 32.75

The well realised provincial oil on canvas laid onto board portrait depicting a young gentleman, with foppish dark parted hair, probably in his early twenties, clothed in a black buttoned overcoat with one hand resting on his hip, amidst an atmospheric exterior background and set in a gesso and gilt frame, surviving from the second quarter of the nineteenth century.

The picture is in fair to good overall condition, showing an even amount of craquelure to its surface. There are a few very minor areas of flaked loss and he has had a light clean whilst there is some minor lifting, cockling, crazing and slight losses to frame, which is certainly nineteenth century but may or may not be original to the picture itself. The canvas has a little lift from the board to the edges of the picture. Both the frame and the painting sit nicely in the ‘showing age’ category rather than in the ‘in desperate need of attention’ category but obviously he could be cleaned and restored if so desired.

There is a 21stC notation to the back of the picture which reads “Canvas of this portrait: Waring & Dimes Manufacturers, 91 G. Russell St., Bloomsbury, London”. This helps us to confirm the date that this picture was painted as Waring & Dimes were only active for two years between 1840-1842.

The partnership of Waring & Dimes advertised in The Art-Union, ‘Anti-tube bladders of colour’ (January 1841 p.19, and subsequently, with editorial article March 1841 p.49); prepared canvas with India rubber grounds, madder lake and drawing materials and metallic zinc tablets. Waring & Dimes had an account with Roberson, 1841. The dissolution of the partnership between George Waring and Frederick Dimes was announced in The Art-Union in August 1842, stating that the business would be continued under the name of Dimes and Co. An example of their stamped canvas, apparently exported to France, is Joseph Court’s Pauline Hortet, 1844, marked: WARING & DIMES/ MANUFACTURERS,/ 91 G. Russell St./ BLOOMSBURY/ LONDON/ India Rubber Prepared/ CANVAS. The annotation to the reverse of our picture is very similar.

The artwork shows this seemingly congenial and rather effeminate gentleman, who may be an officer of some sort, standing with a hint of a smile, which makes a nice change from many pictures of this type and style. He does still exude some authority, mainly down to the way he is dressed and the fact that his hand is on his hip, giving the impression of control. His foppish hair and rosy cheeks play a nice balance between this sense of power and sense of kindness and quality of character that the sitter obviously wanted to portray. The brass buttons and hanging chain to his overcoat signify a high standing of class which he will have been born into.

A well-painted picture from a very definitive period with real decorative impact and in an appealing size.

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