John Keyse Sherwin (1771-1790)
Much has been written about the well-known eighteenth century actor, playwright and theatre manager David Garrick, depicted here in a character role, his powdered hair tied back with a black ribbon. Garrick (1717-1779) rose to fame with his performance of Richard III in 1741. He was a pupil and close friend of the writer Samuel Johnson.
A similar pencil profile of Garrick drawn “from ye life” and signed by Sherwin is held at the National Portrait Gallery. This was published as an engraving around 1774.
Set with a verre eglomisé mount, the portrait is presented in a traditional papier-mâché frame with a decorative surround.
The portrait is attributed to John Keyse Sherwin who was born in Chichester in 1751 to Francis and Martha Sherwin. Despite humble origins – his father was a labourer – Sherwin was sponsored to go up to London to study under master engraver Bartolozzi. He went on to exhibit portraits at the Royal Academy between 1774 and 1784. Despite success both as an engraver and as an artist, Sherwin was reputed to have been a drinker and a gambler, vices which inevitably resulted in poverty and contributed to his premature death at the age of 39.
Item Ref. 7135
Size: framed, 198 x 181mm (7¾ x 7¼")