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An English Regency Portrait Of Master Betty With His Spinning Top - Circle Of Sir John Hoppner (1758-1810)


£8,250 | $11,183 USD | €9,614 EUR
Item Number: SA833006
Date of manufacture: Regency
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Period Portraits
This antique has been viewed 23 times in the past month with the most views from Finland.


Period Portraits are proud to present this charming and highly decorative English portrait of a young gentleman traditionally identified as William Henry West Betty (1791-1874) by an artist in the circle of Sir John Hoppner.
The elegant young sitter stands full-length in relaxed pose within an impressive hallway, between a pillar and green drapery. He rotates his spinning top across its chequerboard floor. He wears the form of clothing traditionally sported by high status children of the period, namely a skeleton suit.
A skeleton suit was an outfit of clothing for young boys which was popular from roughly 1790 to the late 1820’s. It consisted of two pieces - a fitted long-sleeved coat or jacket and a pair of high waisted trousers. that were buttoned together
Previously and subsequently young boys wore dresses until they were breeched or put into trousers. Skeleton suits are recorded as one of the first costumes to be tailored specifically for children, rather than being copies of adult fashions, sized down.
William Henry West Betty (1791 - 1874)
William Henry West Betty was born in September 1791 in Shrewsbury Shropshire his byname was The Young Roscius, also Master Betty and he was an English actor who won instant success as a child prodigy.
Betty’s debut was in Belfast (before he was 12) in an English version of Voltaire's Zaïre. He was successful in Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. In 1804, when he first appeared at Covent Garden, London, the crush to obtain admittance was so great, that troops were called out to preserve order!
Later in his career Betty played the great tragic roles of Shakespeare at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, where he received an unprecedented salary. George III presented him to the Queen, and on one occasion William Pitt adjourned the House of Commons so that members could see Master Betty’s performance as Hamlet.
In 1808 he made his final appearance as a boy actor and entered Christ’s College, Cambridge. Sadly his attempts to perform again in 1812 were ill received. Betty retired completely in 1824 and lived off his fortune.
John Hoppner (1758-1810) Hoppner was a British portrait painter, born of German immigrant parents who worked at the court of George II. He trained as a chorister in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, and later received an allowance from George III to study at the Royal Academy Schools. The royal favour he was shown led to rumours that he was the king's illegitimate son. In 1789 he was appointed portrait painter to the Prince of Wales (later George IV) and after the death of Reynolds, he and Lawrence were the leading portraitists in the country.
This portrait is in an excellent state of conservation, having been recently cleaned and is ready to hang in a semi antique 18th century style frame.
Higher resolution images on request.
Worldwide shipping available.
Canvas: 28" x 32” / 72cm x 82cm (approx) Frame: 32" x 36” / 82cm x 92cm (approx)


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as Regency.


Height = 92 cm (36.2")
Width = 82 cm (32.3")
Depth = 3 cm (1.2")

Seller Details

Period Portraits
North Yorkshire
United Kingdom

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