Smugly Prosperous

William Wood (1769-1810)


This boldly painted gentleman with his chubby cheeks and well-endowed figure has the air of a gentleman of property and means. Set against a stormy cloud backdrop, his hair is powdered with some of the powder having fallen on to the collar of his blue coat. His white waistcoat is edged with an eye-catching red trim.

Painted during the 1790s, the portrait resides in the original gold frame with a neatly plaited hair border. The reverse is glazed to reveal a wheatsheaf (symbol of fertility and love) of hair in two colours tied with seed pearls on an ivory base within a foiled blue glass surround.

The portrait is in excellent condition. There is a tiny scratch to the glass at 6 o’clock. On the reverse there are some old gum marks and some loss to the gold wire garland.

Born in Suffolk, William Wood entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1785 at the age of sixteen. He subsequently worked in London, Bristol and Gloucester. His distinctive portraits display character and honesty and so are critically well acclaimed.

Item Ref. 6722

Size: framed, 90 x 72mm

Provenance: Christie's May 1978 ; Bonhams, Nov. 1998

Exhibited: Irish Architectural Archives, 2009