The Composer’s Daughter

By John Taylor (1738-1838)


This is a finely drawn half-length portrait of a lady looking serene in a classical garden setting. Her costume is well detailed – the close-fitting peaked cap tied under the chin, the lace ruff collar, the beautifully figured hooded cloak drawn tight around her shoulders and the deep fur muff. She has a posy of flowers tucked into her arm.

An inscription on the back of the frame names her as ‘Mrs Prince, daughter of Dr Wm Hayes’. William Hayes (1706-1777) was a well-known composer, organist, and conductor. He was also Professor of Music at Oxford and in 1749 was made Doctor of Music. Ann was his eldest daughter and in 1768 she married Daniel Prince, a prominent local printer and bookseller who for many years managed Oxford University Press.

Plumbago on vellum housed in the original giltwood frame with a beaded border. There is slight wrinkling to the vellum but otherwise in excellent condition. The frame has some small losses of long-standing.

The son of a London customs officer, John Taylor studied at St Martin’s Lane Academy before moving to Oxford where he made a career of painting portraits of the undergraduates and academics. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution between 1780 and 1838 and was in his 99th year when he died.

Item Ref. 5466

Size: framed, 185 x 154mm (7¼ x 6¼")

Provenance: New York Private Collection