Ermine & Silver Braid

Arthur Devis attrib.


Attributed to Arthur Devis (1712-1787), these small portraits depict a well-dressed aristocratic couple. The gentleman, in a ‘staring wings’ toupée, is wearing a red coat faced with royal blue and decorated with silver buttons and braid. The style of the braiding running down his arm suggests this is court dress rather than military. His wife wears a décolleté white gown with a blue surcoat luxuriously trimmed with ermine, her hair upswept under a fashionable turban style hat with trailing ends decorated with a rope of creamy pearls. Such head dresses became ‘the polite fashion’ at court during the 1760s.

Both portraits have remnants of ink inscriptions reverse; the only legible part reads Richard / Williamson junr. / his picture / given to him by / his Godmother . . .

Oil on copper, the portraits are set in the original pearwood frames with narrow gilded slips. There are tiny scattered spots of paint loss visible under magnification and specks of dust caught under the glass. Otherwise the portraits are in fine condition.

Born in Lancashire, Arthur Devis is best known for his portrait conversation pieces. He is said to have fathered 22 children though they mostly all died young.

Item Ref. 7014

Size: framed, 168 x 142mm (6⅝ x 5½")