A Proud Mama

Walter Stephens Lethbridge


This is a enchanting portrait of a young Regency mother with her beloved child. She is elegantly dressed in a spotted muslin short-waisted dress tied with a ribbon bow and with short sleeves under full-length over-sleeves. Her jewellery is particularly striking – a double-strand pearl necklace with matching bracelets, pearl drop earrings and a delightful diamond brooch on her corsage in the shape of a bird. Her hair is fashionably drawn up with curls framing her face. The child is wearing a simple muslin dress and a sweet lace cap.

Most miniature artists struggled to paint hands successfully but, judging from this portrait, not Walter Stephens Lethbridge who has here achieved a very natural-looking composition.

The son of a Devon farmer, Lethbridge (1771/2-1831?) was initially apprenticed to a house painter but, having a talent for portraiture, he then attached himself to a travelling artist. He subsequently exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1829. Examples of his work can be seen in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The portrait is in fine condition with strong colours. It has the artist’s trade label on the reverse giving the address ’96 Strand on the corner of Beaufort Buildings’. It is additionally signed on the backing paper ‘W. S. Lethbridge / Pinxit / 371 Strand / London’. The portrait is housed in the original large-size papier-mâché frame with a decorative surround and elongated leaf hanger.

Item Ref. 6833

Size: framed, 235 x 204mm