S Stands For – – – – –

Robert Bowyer


This portrait by Robert Bowyer of an amiable-looking lady in a blue dress and powdered wig topped with a feather shows the stylistic influence of his close friend and fellow miniaturist John Smart. As testament of their friendship, when he sailed to India in 1785, Smart entrusted the education and welfare of his two young illegitimate children to Bowyer.

The portrait is set in the original good quality gold frame with bright cut decoration to the rim and an engraved letter S to the reverse. Apart from a little dust behind the glass and light scratching to the reverse side of the frame, the miniature is in good condition.

Robert Bowyer was born in Portsmouth in 1758 to Amos and Betty Ann Bowyer. Aged nineteen he married his sweetheart Mary Shoveller and with her had a daughter. In addition to his successful career as a painter, Bowyer dealt in prints and published several books including a well-received history of England. In 1807 he petitioned Parliament for a Bill to permit him to dispose of his valuable collection of paintings and books by lottery. The top prize was to comprise paintings to the value of ten thousand pounds. In the event he did not sell enough tickets so the lottery was voided. Bowyer exhibited over thirty paintings during his career and was appointed Miniature Painter to George III upon the death of Jeremiah Meyer. He himself died in 1834 having been pre-deceased by his only daughter.

Item Ref. 7380

Size: framed, 50 x 42mm

Provenance: Acquired from D.S. Lavender Antiques in 1991