Cascading Curls

Samuel John Stump


Moving away from the tall hair-dos of the eighteenth century, ladies looked towards classical Greek and Roman statuary for fresh ideas. With powder no longer in use, the natural hair was now styled more informally in loose chignons with curls framing the face, as worn by this lady. The only decoration would have been a large comb or, as here, a bandeau. Dating to the early years of the nineteenth century, the sitter is wearing a ‘barely-there’ empire-line dress with a fill-in protecting her modesty.

The portrait is indistinctly signed bottom left ‘Stump / pinx’ and is presented in a papier-mâché frame with a traditional acorn hanger.

Previously thought to have been American, fresh research has revealed that the artist Samuel John Stump (1778-1863) was actually born in Wiltshire. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and then worked in London and Brighton where his studio attracted many actors and actresses. The 1861 Census shows 84-year-old Stump living in Hackney with his daughter Louisa, his son-in-law and his 21-year-old son, Henry James Stump, whose occupation is (somewhat appropriately!) an artificial leg maker!

Item Ref. 4880

Size: framed, 130 x 111 (5⅛ x 4⅜")