Despite the fact that George Engleheart recorded the names of close to five thousand sitters in his fee book, this gentleman is now only identifiable by his initials – JMT – picked out in seed pearls on the reverse of the frame. Amongst Engleheart’s sitters were 135 whose surname began with the letter T. But discount the ladies and the children and the field narrows down to 81 sitters. Two factors can narrow the list even further: the style of the gentleman’s coat and hair points towards the early 19th century whilst the anchors painted on his buttons point towards a naval sitter. That suggests that the sitter may be either Capt. Thompson who sat for his portrait in 1798 or Capt. Todd who sat in 1801. Without opening the frame to check for an inscription and/or date, this cannot though be verified.
The portrait is in fine condition. It resides in the original gold frame, the reverse glazed to show plaited brown hair surmounted with the initials JMT in seed pearls.
George Engleheart (1750-1829) ranks amongst the most talented of the artists working during the Georgian heyday of portrait miniature painting. By the turn of the 19th century, when this portrait was painted, his career was well established and he had progressed from painting small oval images to producing larger and bolder portraits.
Item Ref. 7242
Size: framed, 86 x 70mm + bail
Provenance: Private UK Collection