Sarah Herries

J. C. D. Engleheart


Genealogical records show that Sarah Dorrington was born in Chelsea in 1787, so she would have been 28 years old when she sat for this portrait that was most likely commissioned to mark her marriage in February 1814 to John Charles Herries of Sevenoaks. The couple had three sons and three daughters born between 1815 and 1821. Sadly Sarah died in 1821, perhaps in childbirth, leaving her very young family.

The portrait was painted at the height of the Regency period and shows Sarah with fashionably cropped curls wearing a cream silk dress with a square d├ęcolletage trimmed with fine lace and sleeves that are gathered at the shoulder with slits fastened with pearl buttons. Her red shawl with its floral trim adds colour but it is her beautiful gold and amethyst necklace and matching dress clips that particularly draw the eye. This may have been her birthstone (the month of her birth is as yet unconfirmed). She certainly got married in the month of February (and by sad coincidence also died in that month).

The portrait is fully signed on the reverse – ‘J. D. Engleheart / Pinxt / 1815 / 88 Newman St. / London’ and is presented with a gilded metal surround within the original ormolu frame with a decorative acorn and oak leaf border.

Having worked closely with his uncle, George Engleheart, since the age of fourteen, John Cox Dillman Engleheart finally gained his own studio at 88 Newman Street in 1807/8. His technique and style was inevitably influenced by his uncle but independence brought with it a new confidence to paint larger-sized miniatures and to use a bolder palette.


Item Ref. 6268

Size: framed, 122 x 108mm ; portrait to view, 89 x 70mm

Provenance: By family descent