James Leakey (1775-1865)

Circa 1801


This a beautiful portrait of a blushing young lady, named Charlotte Trevanion. Charlotte is shown wearing a high-waisted white dress with a pearl necklace and pearl drop earrings. Her hair falls over one shoulder, the rest drawn into into a plaited knot and secured with a gold and pearl comb and a pink bandeau decorated with a braid of hair.

Charlotte Hosier was born in 1783. At the age of eighteen, she married John Trevanion Purnell Bettesworth-Trevanion, a Cornish politician and Member of Parliament. They lived at Caerhays Castle in Cornwall which Trevanion rebuilt in the Gothic style between 1807 and 1810. Charlotte had five children over seven years. She died in 1810, aged just 27, and was buried at Caerhays alongside her only daughter who died before her third birthday. Following her death, her husband fled to Paris having fallen heavily into debt.

Watercolour on ivory set in a gold frame enclosed on the reverse. There is a 5mm horizontal scratch on the glass at 8 o’clock and some specks of dust under the glass. Fine condition.

The son of an Exeter wool-stapler, James Leakey worked as a portrait and landscape artist mostly in Exeter but also for a time in London and Bath. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1821 and 1846 before retiring to become a Calvinist preacher. At least three of his eleven children also became church ministers.

Item Ref. 4924

Size: oval, 55 x 48mm

Provenance: By family descent