Pregnancy is rarely portrayed in historical portraits, making this a particularly engaging and personal portrait. With a light bloom to her cheeks, this young lady wears a simple cross-over gown with a charcoal wrap over her arms, her hair falling in soft curls over her shoulder. The presence of the sailing ships against a stormy sky background suggests she may be awaiting the return of her sea-faring husband. Given that the artist initially worked on the island of Jersey, it seems likely that this is the setting for this portrait.
The artist Philip (Philippe) Jean was born in St Ouen, Jersey in 1755 and took up painting in his mid-twenties following a brief career as a seaman. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1787. Jean married a local girl, Anne Madeleine Noël, in 1781 and with her had a daughter who only lived a few months and a son. Following the untimely death of Anne, Jean married another Jersey-born lady, Sarah Marie De Ste Croix. The family moved to London where three daughters and a son were born.
The portrait has a little tonal fading but is otherwise in fine condition. It resides in the original gold frame, the reverse with a glazed aperture holding a lock of brown hair tied with gold wire laid on a mother of pearl base which has a vertical hairline crack to one side.
Item Ref. 7219
Size: framed, 86 x 71mm
Provenance: Alvin J. Huss - Sotheby's, December 1985