Sarah Paynter, the Builder’s Wife

Circa 1770


This well-detailed portrait portrays a lady named Sarah Paynter. Set before red drapes and classical columns, Sarah sits with her elbow resting on the arm of a chair and her face in profile. She is wearing a white décolleté dress tied at the waist with a blue ribbon sash, the sleeves trimmed with ropes of pearls. Her powdered hair is worn with a white spotted bandeau that is tied in a bow under her chin.

Sarah Whidbourne (1760-1810) married Francis Paynter of Denmark Hill in 1783. Francis made his fortune as a builder and contractor in partnership with his brother Samuel.

Watercolour on ivory inscribed reverse ‘Sarah Paynter 1st wife / of Francis Paynter / Mother of / John Paynter & / Samuel Paynter’. Presented in a gilt metal frame, the reverse glazed to reveal the sitter’s initials, SP, painted in cursive script upon cream silk. Fine condition.

Item Ref. 5146

Size: oval, 79 x 64mm