Nicholas Freese


This finely painted portrait portrays a ruddy-cheeked gentleman smartly turned out in a navy double-breasted coat, white waistcoat and pristine cravat. The almond-shaped eyes and stormy blue background are recognisable traits of Freese’s work.

In fine condition and retaining its strong colouring, the portrait resides in its original gold frame, the reverse glazed to show a decorative lock of brown hair with gold wire and seed pearls laid on foiled opalescent glass.

Recent research has confirmed that Nicholas Freese was born around 1761 in Birmingham to a German father and an English mother but it was to London that he moved in order to practise as an artist. It is thought that he ceased painting commercially in 1814 following the death of his only son in the Peninsular War. His daughter, Mary, was an actress; she married into the Kemble family, well-known in theatrical circles.

An interesting snippet published in John Bull (December 1825) records how Freese, then living at Stamford Street in Blackfriars, was burgled one night losing portrait miniatures and spoons worth over £40. Fortunately the thief was apprehended two miles away and the goods recovered, though the sentence that was later handed down was a harsh one.

APHA Registered

Item Ref. 9059M

Size: framed, 72 x 58mm