A Very Good Mid-18thC Oil on Canvas Portrait of a Gentleman c.1760

Origin: French or English
Period: Louis XV/George III
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1760-80
Canvas: 17.75 inches x 13 inches
In Frame: 22.25 inches x 17.25 inches

The well realised eighteenth century oil on canvas portrait of a dashing young to middle-aged gentleman in oils on canvas, in a black overcoat with a peppermint white neckerchief, the work apparently unsigned, survives in an associated nineteenth century frame.

The picture is a little dirty and if cleaned would become something different, but it is in this condition that we simply love. There is some evidence of some cleaning to the edges of the face showing a bluish ghostly tinge. There is some craquelure to the sitters hair region, whilst there are no holes or patch repairs to the canvas though there is some over-painting to an area at the lower cheek. There is a small sticker to verso reading ‘N1523 HPH’ which is possibly a Christie’s stencil number. The reverse chamfered stretcher/cross support points to the possibility of the work being French. The associated gesso gilt frame has a large section of loss to the left flank.

The level of skill seen in the painting is certainly well accomplished, this is not an amateurish hand, the dashing gent, probably in his late thirties or early forties, is depicted in his prime as it were, with five o’clock shadow stubble and deep kind eyes, his face showing a rather approachable expression. The painter has highlighted very cleverly sections of the sitters face and the use of light in general is superb, particularly to the lips and the suggestion of the face appearing from the gloom of the background is both effective and atmospheric, in the manner of Rembrandt.

This is a picture meriting further research, though one that can hang and be admired in this beautiful untouched state all the same. Beguiling.