Pigtail in a Brooch
Isabella Beetham (c.1753-1825)
Compared to her contemporary John Miers, Isabella Beetham painted very few miniature profiles. She typically did not sign her jewellery work but it is easily recognised by the style of the bust-line termination. This gentleman is painted on ivory and dates to the mid 1780s. He has a bound pigtail wig and is wearing an early style of frock coat without lapels.
The silhouette is set in a gold frame with a pendant ring and a brooch clasp. The reverse has an aperture revealing neatly plaited hair. Both silhouette and frame are in excellent condition, the only small flaw being a little scratching to the glass.
Isabella Beetham began cutting silhouettes to support her young family. Her husband meanwhile dabbled in many trades from acting to inventing a washing machine. In the early 1780s Mrs Beetham had painting lessons from the miniaturist John Smart and thereafter began painting profiles in a more accomplished style. Her work is well-considered and is sought by collectors.
Item Ref. 6735
Size: framed, 45 x 37mm