Strawberry Blonde

James H. Gillespie


Anglo-American artist James H. Gillespie painted small profiles in a variety of styles from simple black silhouettes to more detailed profiles in colour, this portrait being an example of that latter style.

Set against Gillespie’s distinctive orange hatched background, this child has cropped blonde hair and is wearing a sweet high-waisted dress with a blue ribbon tie.

Born in 1793, James Gillespie began painting before 1815. By 1820 he claimed to have completed 17,000 likenesses. Gillespie toured the market towns throughout the Midlands into Northern England and the Scottish Borders. At each location he painted on average 500 profiles in a variety of styles. He was particularly busy in the fast-growing town of Preston where he painted nearly 1,100 likenesses but was less popular in Daventry where he only received 160 commissions. Around 1825 he left the British Isles for a new life in Nova Scotia from where he worked his way down the east coast of America.

Painted in watercolour on card and in excellent condition, the portrait is housed in the original papier-mâché frame with an acorn hanger.

Item Ref. 4057

Size: 140 x 109mm (5½ x 4¼")