Brooch Silhouette

John Field


This silhouette was most likely painted as a gift for the sitter’s husband or indeed maybe for a secret lover. It shows a well-endowed lady wearing an empire-line dress edged with lace and gold hoop earrings, her hair curled and upswept.

Painted on ivory the silhouette is set in the original chased gold frame, the reverse glazed to show neatly plaited brown hair. The ivory base has suffered a ding at 9 o’clock with a short horizontal hairline crack. There is a smaller hairline crack at 2 o’clock. These are both stable and neither of them run into the painted profile.

Although signed Miers, the profile was actually painted and skillfully gilded by John Field (1772-1848) who worked alongside John Miers in his London studio. Field had a long career: he was taken on by John Miers during the early 1790s to keep up with the growing demand for profiles. The two men worked together for decades, Miers specialising in plain black work and Field becoming a master bronzer. The partnership only ended with the death of John Miers in 1821; Field though did not hang up his paintbrush but continued to paint profiles until his own death in 1848.

Item Ref. 6591

Size: 43 x 38mm