Quizzical Eyebrows

Nathaniel Plimer


This portrait of a gentleman with powdered hair and thick quizzically raised eyebrows over almond-shaped eyes is in the distinctive hand of Nathaniel Plimer. The sitter’s details are not known though it’s possible his name may be found within the unopened frame.

There is some dust caught under the glass but otherwise the portrait is in fine condition. It is set in the original gold frame that is glazed on the reverse to show a lock of brown hair tied with seed pearls (one pearl is dislodged) laid on foiled opalescent glass within an aperture with a blue glass surround.

Nathaniel Plimer (1757-1822) was the eldest son of a Shropshire clockmaker, a trade he and his brother were expected to assume to. Instead the two boys chose to run away, reaching London in 1781 where Nathaniel initially worked for the enamellist Henry Bone and took painting lessons alongside his brother with Richard Cosway. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1787. Plimer is said to have been ‘a man of the most violent and ungovernable temper, giving way at times to terrible outbursts of violence’ (Williamson 1903).

Ivory Registration: 7XTZ2ADJ

Item Ref. 7126

Size: framed, 70 x 61mm + bail