Sibella Mansfield

James Leakey


Shown in ¾-length, Sibella Mansfield is looking wistful with a rosy glow to her cheeks as she stands before a crimson drape with one arm resting against a classical column. She is wearing a white empire-line dress and a cornflower blue wrap, her brown hair upswept with curls framing her face. The portrait is inscribed on the backing paper ‘Sibella Mansfield 1812 / Sibella Price 1814’.

The daughter of Capt. Mansfield, Sibella married Samuel Colonel Rice of the 51st Light Infantry in Edinburgh in October 1814. The couple had one daughter. An aspiring artist herself, Sibella appears to have accompanied her husband on his tours of duty as an album of her watercolours painted mostly in Corfu was sold in 2011 by Christie’s. Sibella was a widow when she died in 1856.

Painted by James Leakey, the portrait is set under convex glass in a narrow gilt metal frame and is in good condition with strong original colours.

James Leakey (1775-1865) was the son of an Exeter wool-stapler (a dealer in wool). He painted oil portraits and landscapes as well as miniatures, working mostly in his home town but also for a time in London and Bath. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1821 and 1846. He was much in demand and is said to have abandoned a planned move to Canada because he had so many outstanding commissions. Upon retirement he became a Calvinist preacher; at least three of his eleven children also became church ministers.

Item Ref. 6526

Size: framed, 112 x 85mm

Provenance: Phillips. Nov, 1987