Smouldering & Moody

Andrew Plimer


A pamphlet entitled ‘Neckclothitania’ was published in 1818 to instruct the would-be gentleman in the art of tying his neckcloth. Popular styles included the stiff and rigid Oriental Tie said to be most favoured in Hertfordshire, the lighter Osbaldeston better suited to summertime and favoured in ethereal azure, and the Ball Room Tie which should always be pure white.

Painted around 1805, this gentleman’s portrait pre-dates this helpful pamphlet but his stock is nonetheless neatly fastened. It is worn with a fashionable jockey waistcoat of vertical stripes and a green double-breasted coat with a black velvet collar. His powdered wig is worn en queue.

The artist has added a stormy cloud background that heightens the moody stare that the sitter has adopted thereby creating a strong and characterful portrait.

The portrait is in excellent condition and is set in the original gold frame with foiled blue glass reverse.

Andrew Plimer (1763-1837) was the son of a Shropshire clockmaker, a trade he and his older brother were expected to assume to. But the two boys had different ideas and so ran away from home, eventually reaching London where Andrew had the good fortune to be taken on as a valet to the famed miniature painter Richard Cosway who, recognising the young man’s budding talent, arranged painting lessons for him. Plimer set up his own studio in 1785 and exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1786 and 1830.

Item Ref. 6630

Size: framed, 83 x 70mm

Provenance: Allen H. Johness Jnr Collection, Sotheby's, 27 November 1972