A Yorkshire Lass

James Smart (1701-1739)


Painted during the early 1730s, this enchanting portrait shows a little girl with large brown eyes and rosy cheeks, her long hair falling over her shoulders in soft curls. Set against a Maya blue background, she wears a gold-coloured low-cut dress with a frilled white under-slip.

The portrait is painted in oil on copper and is set in the original gold frame that is enclosed on the back. To view the portrait is in fine condition. Under magnification there is light surface dirt and tiny spots of paint loss, these mostly confined to the outside edge.

Little is known about James Smart who was born in Ripon in North Yorkshire in 1701. He began painting miniatures at the age of eighteen and is believed to have solely worked in his local area and to have solely painted children. Only a handful of portraits by him have been identified. An article in the Yorkshire Illustrated (April 1949) grandly described him as ‘Europe’s first child miniaturist’ – Yorkshire’s first maybe but alas, not Europe’s first!

Item Ref. 7229

Size: framed, 41 x 36mm

Provenance: Bonhams & Brooks 2001