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Portrait Of A Lady Holding A Portrait Miniature Of A Boy C.1673-80; Circle Of John Michael Wright (1617-1694), Oil On Canvas


£8,850 | $11,265 USD | €10,097 EUR
Item Number: SA1001703
Date of manufacture: 17th Century
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Titan Fine Art
This antique has been viewed 38 times in the past month with the most views from Türkiye.


In this touching composition a young woman has been depicted wearing a dark coloured dress, draped at the bodice with a gauzy silk scarf and with pearls and large diamonds, over a white chemise. The portrait can be datable to between 1673 and 1680 based on the sitter’s hairstyle and the clothing that she is wearing.
The veil, the dark clothing, and the miniature in which is prominently displayed could signify mourning.
The charming subject is clearly a sitter of status as evidenced by the expensive black attire and the various pearls and large diamonds, but the image serves as a poignant reminder of the historic function of the portrait miniature that she is holding. The portable nature of the miniature, and indeed the cost of obtaining one, meant that often these little portraits were the only likeness one would own of an intimate – usually a lover, spouse, or a child. In this portrait the miniature depicts a young boy who we can presume to be her son. Miniature painting developed in the early 16th century out of the tradition of illuminating manuscripts (hand-written books). In England, miniature was predominantly a portrait art that was undertaken by specialist miniature painters.
By tradition the sitter in our portrait is Ann Curran. It is very likely that our portrait is the same one that was part of the collection of The Most Honourable Maria Arabella, Dowager Marchioness of Lansdowne, and sold after her death as a “Collection of Valuable Paintings” on 13 July 1833, by auctioneers Mr George Robins, at her home Wycombe Lodge, Kensington, London, Lot 2 (as “A painting, portrait of Curran”). Wycombe Lodge was built in 1829, the same year the Dowager took up residence. Mary Arabella Maddox was the daughter of Reverend Hinton Maddox. She married Duke Gifford about 1781 and later she married, John Henry Petty, 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne, son of General William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne and Lady Sophia Carteret, in 1805. She died on 24 April 1833.
John Michael Wright was one of the most successful native English artists of the seventeenth century, and was one of only a handful to find favour amongst the top echelons of society. He introduced a rather Italian flavour into British painting, unlike all the other portrait painters in second half of the century. When placed next to Lely’s work, for example, Wright’s lively and realistic characterisations tend to reinforce Pepy’s critique that Lely’s portraits were ‘good but not like’ and Pepy’s comment in 1662, upon leaving Lely’s studio and visiting Wright’s, states the contrast between the two: “[from] Mr Lillys… Thence to Wrights the painter’s, but Lord, the difference that is between their two works’.
No other English artist before Wright had travelled and studied so extensively on the continent. During his more than ten years in Rome, and practise of painting in France and perhaps the Netherlands, Wright had obtained experience far wider than that of any painter working in Britain during the second half of the 17th century. Most of his sitter's faces are unique and skilfully individualised, unlike other artist's work. The woman in his portraits who were mostly outside court circles reflect a more quiet and modest demeanour.

Born in London, Wright first trained in Edinburgh as an apprentice to George Jamesone who had achieved considerable fame and whose work was by no means inferior to the English-born painters working in London. In the early 1640’s he settled in Rome where he studied, and in 1648 he became a member of the Academy of St Luke. In 1656 he returned to London and two years later a publication refers to him as one of the best artists in England.
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All of our paintings are in very good condition having passed strict quality and condition assessments by one of our professional conservators.
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This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 17th Century.


Height = 89 cm (35.0")
Width = 77 cm (30.3")
Depth = 5 cm (2.0")

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Titan Fine Art
United Kingdom

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