Elias Inchbald

Charles Henry Schwanfelder


Painted in half-length profile seated at a table, Elias Inchbald is holding a quill pen as a tool of his trade as an attorney-at-law. Smartly dressed, he wears a mid-blue coat with brass buttons and a black velvet collar over a white waistcoat and stock, his powdered wig neatly tied in a bound queue with black ribbon.

Born in 1768, Elias Inchbald was apprenticed as an attorney’s clerk in his home town of Malton in 1786. He married a local girl, Mary Rider, in May 1792 at St Michael’s, New Malton; the couple had four children. They lived at Abbey House, Old Malton later to become the home of Charles Smithson, a solicitor and friend of the author Charles Dickens who was a regular visitor there.

Elias Inchbald died in 1807 aged just 39. Recording his death The Athenaeum (vol. 1, 1807) noted that ‘in his profession he was possessed of superior abilities, and his conduct in all affairs of business was uniformly guided by the strictest principles of honour and justice’. Word of his death was also sent to his aunt, the celebrated actress, author and playwright Elizabeth Inchbald, who noted in her diary that she was ‘shockd’ by the news.

Painted in watercolour, the portrait is signed (under the slip) ‘CH Schwanfelder / Leeds 179-‘ and is set in a handsome period frame with a gilt slip that is inscribed with the sitter’s name and dates.

Charles Henry Schwanfelder (1772-1837) was the son of a Leeds house decorator. He exhibited in Leeds and at the Royal Academy and was appointed Animal Painter to the Prince Regent in 1815.

Item Ref. 6868

Size: framed, 352 x 297mm