Sir Francis Lord

Nicolas Freese, circa 1800


Nicholas Freese rarely signed his portraits but his distinctive use of an orange-blue hatched background coupled with a tendency to give his sitters almond-shaped eyes makes his work recognisable. This smartly dressed gentleman with his distinctive blonde quiff is traditionally identified as Sir Francis Lord.

The portrait is housed in the original gold frame that is glazed on the back to show sprays of blonde hair tied with gold wire and seed pearls with a central gold initial on foiled opalescent glass with a plaited hair border. Both portrait and frame are in fine condition.

Genealogical 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. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1794 and 1814.

An interesting snippet published in John Bull in December 1825 records how Freese, who was 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 handed down was a harsh one.

Item Ref. JH016

Size: framed, 80 x 66mm + bail