The head and shoulders portrait of a young and beautiful European lady, probably of Spanish origin, in profile, facing sinister, on a deep ruby red ground, painted in oils on canvas and remaining unframed, signed ‘BM’.
The picture is in relatively good overall condition and does not suffer from any major losses showing an even amount of craquelure to its surface, though heavier in two or three areas namely to the cheek of the face, which we actually rather like. There are a few very minor areas of flaked loss and one can see where she once sat in a period frame with an outline to her borders. She doesn’t appear to have been cleaned or restored at any point.
This work is of the same style as that of James Sant CVO, RA (1820–1916) who was a British painter specializing in portraits, and a member of the Royal Academy. Sant was born in Croydon and taught by John Varley and Augustus Wall Callcott. He lived to the age of 96 and produced an astonishing number of canvases for exhibition at the Academy, some 250 of them, from 1840 through 1904. He was elected to the RA in 1870, and in 1872 Sant was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary (official portraitist) to Queen Victoria and the royal family. Sant resigned from the RA in 1914 to "make room for younger men." His work can be found at the Tate Gallery. There is a particular portrait by Sant named a ‘fair beauty’ which is the same size as this work and features very similar colours, especially to the red ground.