Joyce, Lady Lake

Charles Robertson


During the last quarter of the eighteenth century, miniature painting was a lucrative business so it’s no surprise that bitter rivalries sometimes arose between artists such as when, in October 1779, Charles Robertson resorted to advertising in Saunders News-Letter in Dublin to reassure his friends and the public that, despite “some evil-minded persons” having reported “with an intention to injure” that he was dead, he was indeed “living and in good health”, ready and willing to take on commissions.

One of those commissions was this portrait of Joyce, Lady Lake wearing a white décolleté gown with a frilled collar, her long hair curled and powdered and dressed with a turban-style bandeau.

Born in 1750, Joyce was the daughter of John Crowther. She married the aristocrat Sir James Wynter Lake and with him had a daughter, Mary.

In fine condition, the portrait resides in the original gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal a lock of brown hair tied with gold wire and laid on plaited hair. An old handwritten label identifies the sitter.

The son of a Dublin jeweller, Charles Robertson (c1760-1821) was trained from an early age to create hair designs, possibly for portrait miniatures painted by his elder brother Walter. Clearly a precocious child, he was only fifteen when he exhibited his first miniature painting.


Item Ref. 9119

Size: framed, 72 x 60mm