George Engleheart Portraits

October 6, 2008 at 10:26 pm (portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , )


George Engleheart (1752-1829), an English miniaturist, turns up as the artist in this ‘snippet’ view of a SOTHEBY’S AUCTION CATALOGUE (date: 16 Oct 1980) from books.google.com. Here is the image from p. 161:

It reads: “George Engleheart, 1782 [lot] 135 Lady Cunliffe, wife of Sir Ellis Cunliffe, her powdered hair piled high and adorned with a lemon and blue scarf, wearing a matching lemon and blue jacket over a white dress, cloud and sky background set on the lid of a hinged navette-shaped ivory patch-box, the gold mounts bright-cut and the interior fitted with a mirror, the miniature oval 4.2cm…” It seems to have A PHOTOGRAPH above the description BUT I CAN’T VIEW IT! Nor can the remainder of the description be read.

I would appreciate if someone with access to this sales catalogue could copy me this page — especially if it contains an image of Lady Cunliffe’s miniature which sits atop this ‘hinged navette-shaped ivory patch-box’!

With hopes of finding more information on this piece (and also its current whereabouts), I came across the following miniature which is exceptionally intriguing for two reasons:

It belongs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and is described as Lord Northampton, c1795. Could this be the Lord Northampton who was brother-in-law to Augusta Smith (Emma Austen-Leigh’s mother); or is it his father? Charles, the ninth Earl of Northampton became the first Marquess of Northampton in 1812. He was born in 1760, succeeded his father in 1796, and died in 1828, when the Smiths’ cousin Spencer Joshua Alwyne Compton succeeded to the title. The museum has this to say about the piece: ‘Pearls and the twisted lock of a hair, probably from a loved one of Lord Northampton, surround this portrait.’

If this represents the first Marquess in his younger days, then the hair might very well have belonged to his wife – Maria Smith, sister to Emma Smith, Eliza Chute and Augusta Smith. Was Emma Austen-Leigh’s mother a blonde?? Maria married Lord Compton (his title before his father’s death) in 1787. The couple eventually settled in Castle Ashby, an estate well-known and often visited by Emma Austen-Leigh.

Ohhh!!! I certainly know one place I will be visiting should my paper be accepted for JASNA’s AGM next October – the AGM to be held in Philadelphia! In the meantime, if anyone has more information on this piece, please contact me.

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