Ann Raper of York
By Emma Smith
Emma Smith, the painter of this portrait, was the daughter of portrait artist John Raphael Smith and the granddaughter of landscape artist Thomas Smith of Derby so she would have grown up surrounded by paint brushes and easels. In addition to painting, Emma was proficient at playing the piano and the harp and was a fluent French speaker.
Her portrait of the pensive young Ann Raper set against a clouded blue sky shows her in a simple white muslin dress trimmed with yellow, her hair fashionably cropped. Ann was the only daughter and youngest child of John Raper, a banker, and grew up at Lotherton Hall (now a museum) just outside York. In 1815 she married James Brooksbank of Healaugh Hall in nearby Tadcaster.
Emma Smith (1783–1853) exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1799 and 1808, exhibiting this miniature in 1804. She gave up painting commercially, however, when she married Robert Pauncefote. The couple lived at Preston Court but it’s said that Emma disliked the house so much she went travelling in order to avoid having to spend time there.
The portrait is set in a traditional papier-mâché frame with an elongated acorn hanger. It is inscribed on the reverse ‘No. 3 / Portrait of / Miss Raper / of York / Painted by Emma Smith / No 31 King St / Covent Garden’.
Item Ref. 6294
Size: framed, 147 x 130mm
Provenance: Robert L. Bayne-Powell collection, Sotheby's 1994
Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1804 - no. 789