A Good Pair of c.1800 Early Primitive School Oils on Panel of a Gentleman & His Wife


Origin: British
Period: Late Eighteenth/Early Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1790-1820
Canvas Heights: 11.75 inches
Canvas Widths: 8.75 inches
The Wholes:  14.5 X 11.5 inches

The oval early primitive school depictions of a gentleman and his wife, shown three quarter length and painted in oils on canvas down on English oak panels, presented in the original gilded and gadrooned metal frames survive from the zenith of the eighteenth century.

Both pictures are presented in poor to fair condition, they could be cleaned and or restored if so desired. Having said this, we very much like paintings that show their age and both show even amounts of wear to their surfaces with flaking to the surface especially on the male portrait. Both have cracks to the lower rims and one to the top of the female portrait. The pressed metal gilded frames are original but not of the highest order, and there is a section of loss to the reverse of the male portrait. The paintings are apparently unsigned.

The artworks, in their charming yet awkward naïve style, show a middle aged gentleman in Georgian period dress, his grey hair in the typical manner, his hand dropped and his face with a hint of a smile, and his wife, a lady of the same vintage with dark hair under a bonnet of lace and silk ribbons, also with that same hint of smile. Paintings like this were popular and designed to show the man and lady of the house at their most resplendent, though these are early examples of the primitive style and this, with being oval shaped, makes them pretty scarce.

Early for their type and with a sharply distinctive naive aesthetic, one could see this Georgian couple arguing late at night over who was to blame in mixing the green and dark tea leaves together in the rosewood tea caddy. We will never know, who was to blame…