Another LOST Face

June 8, 2010 at 11:47 pm (news, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , )

Surfing, I found mention of a Sotheby’s sale — 7 June 2006 — which had this miniature (by George Engleheart) of the 1st Marquess of Northampton:

[Note how much it looks like the miniature held in Philadelphia!]

The truly s-a-d part: the Sotheby’s catalogue has only THIS image although the reverse of this miniature is also of interest to this blog; as well, a SECOND miniature was sold as part of this lot (#304). [I can also say, take a look at lot 307 — which is a gorgeous miniature of the two Compton children, cousins to the Smith of Suttons children; but I say little about that one here because I had found that piece long ago…]

Anyway, the catalogue has this to say of the Marquess’ miniature:

“DESCRIPTION he with powdered hair en queue , wearing a blue coat, yellow waistcoat and a pleated jabot, sky background, within a plaited hair border, the reverse a portrait of his mother-in-law: Mrs Joshua Smith by Mrs Anne Mee circa 1795, with powdered and curled hair, wearing a white gown, sky background, gold frame.”

ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!! to see the description and NOT the portrait just kills me!

The amazing thing (the more I think about this piece) is that the two miniatures are done by two different artists. At some point I can only imagine that Maria (the Marchioness), set two portraits – one of her husband and one of her mother – in one “frame”. The HAIR seems to be two different colors (which must have been something to plait…) and must be from two different people: husband and wife? daughter and mother? I include below the Philadelphia miniature of the Marquess, so the hair might be compared:

EXCEPTIONALLY blond here; and obviously NOT the exact same picture (although also by Engleheart).

Sotheby’s gave a reference, and I’ve found the book on books.google – George Engleheart, 1750-1829: miniature painter to George III. Check out some of the other sitters: I see LADY CUNLIFFE, surely Mary, the “relict” of Sir Ellis (the year painted 1782, so without a first name, it’s impossible to know for sure from this one source, but my find of Mary being sold in a 1980 auction it MUST be the same piece). And there is mega-mention of the GOSLING family! Oh my gosh, look at them all:

under 1785: Miss Gosling   [could this be William’s sister, the future Mrs Gregg?]

under 1787: Mr Gosling

under 1788: Mrs Gosling

under 1790: Mrs Gosling, Sen.

under 1793: Mr Gosling

under 1805: Mr Gosling

Oh! this is maddening! no first names, only dates of marriages to guess who “Mrs Gosling Senior” might have been. Another KILLER!

At the back of the book, there is an index of miniatures and their owners (in 1902!), and there we see SOME of the first names: a Mrs RODWELL, of Eaton Square possessed those of FRANCIS and BARBARA GOSLING. But that only accounts for TWO out of SIX miniatures! Because of the dates one might guess this pair to be those painted in 1787 and 1788 (Francis Gosling II married Barbara Baker in 1777).

Mrs Gosling, Sen. I would all along guess to be William’s mother, the former Miss Houghton; but that might just be a “hopeful” guess…

Either of the other two could be William — or some other Gosling. Maddening! Maddening…

There are various Christie’s (though I cannot claim the Rev. Mr Christie to be of this family), various Colebrookes (ditto the idea that probably not all are relatives to Sir George Colebrooke).

Also maddening is that the Anne Mee miniature of Sarah Smith gets so little attention! If anyone has any picture of this work (yes, someday I will contact Sotheby’s to see what THEY have), do contact me.

Mrs Mee has several “little biographies” in this link (a Notes & Queries), and includes comments by none other than Algernon Graves!

To finish this post, I just comment on the second “missing” portrait, part of Lot 304:

“and another miniature of his wife Maria, Marchioness of Northampton, circa 1795, with powered and piled hair, wearing a white dress, cloud and sky background, cracked, gold frame, glazed hair reverse”

This last is also (I believe; swear I saw it somewhere) by Mrs Mee.

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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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