Floral Corsage

Daniel Dodd (d.1780)


Miniatures by Daniel Dodd are rarely seen and little is known about his background. He worked in London as a miniaturist and pastellist during the second half of the eighteenth century and is thought to have assisted the printseller Carington Bowles in his studio. As many of Dodd’s sitters were connected with the theatre, it’s possible this lady was an actress or a courtesan.

To match the colour of her eyes, the stylish sitter wears a blue dress over a white under-slip, a pretty posy of summer flowers on her corsage. Her powdered hair (most likely a wig) is arranged in the fashion of the day with stiff curls nestling on the nape of her neck and height achieved through the use of cushions stuffed with horsehair. Feathers and ropes of pearls have been added to soften the effect. These hairstyles took so long to create they needed to last well necessitating the daily use of fresh pomade. This was a greasy substance, often made from bear fat, so scent was also added to mask the smell.

The portrait is signed and dated bottom right – D D / 79. It is housed in what appears to be the original gold frame that is reeded on the side and glazed on the reverse to show a spray of brown hair with gold wire, seed pearls and the initials J (or I) R on foiled opalescent glass.

Item Ref. 7276

Size: framed, 86 x 70mm + bail