Monday, April 09, 2007

April 2007 - American and British miniatures

April is another month where there have been several interesting arrivals. They include three American miniatures and two by British artists.

This first miniature portrait of a lady is by John Henry Brown of Philadelphia who was noted for his ability to paint portraits that looked like photographs. It is hard to tell whether this one is a miniature copied from a CDV or is painted over an opalotype base. For more see
American Miniature Portraits - 1: Brown, John Henry - portrait of ...

Secondly, a profile portrait by J H Gillespie of Alexander Hamilton Niven from New York who was born in 1817.

J H Gillespie commenced his career in Britain, but moved to North America in the 1820's where this miniature was painted. For more see Gillespie, J H - portrait of Alexander H Niven

Although the artist has not been identified, the third American one is by a talented artist.

The clothing is extremely well painted, with much more detail than artists generally showed, as can be seen in the close up.

See also Unknown - portrait of a young man

The British pair are not of very high quality, although the lady is wearing an unusual neck-ruff which was briefly popular around 1825 .

However, as was the case last month with the miniature of Esther Tobin, detailed research has enabled the identification of the man as a very interesting sitter.

Thus instead of disposing of the two miniatures, they have been added into the collection.

The man has been identified as Rev Bryan Faussett (1812-1855) who was the plaintiff in a scandalous divorce case in 1849. To gain his divorce, it was necessary to pass a special Act in the House of Lords and the Duke of Wellington, then aged 80, was present in the House of Lords for the passing of the bill.

Rev Bryan Faussett was descended from a famous antiquarian of the 18C, also named Rev Bryan Faussett, and his own descendants were aides of both King George V and King George VI. His great-great-great-grandson is currently married to a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and participated in the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002.

For more about him, the divorce case, and the portrait of a lady with a neck ruff who is thought to be a close relation see Unknown - portrait of Rev Bryan Faussett

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