The Coral Dress

Gervase Spencer


Painted in 1761, just two years before the artist’s death, this characterful portrait shows a lady in a powdered wig wearing an attractive narrow-sleeved coral dress edged with finely painted lacework, a posy of flowers on her corsage. The portrait is signed on the obverse in blue, G S / 1761 and is housed in the original gilt metal frame that is reeded on the rim and enclosed on the back. Other events of 1761 included the marriage and later the coronation of King George III and Queen Charlotte at Westminster Abbey.

Gervase Spencer’s career as a miniaturist began whilst he was working as a footman in a London household during the 1740s. Having drawn a copy of a miniature, the family recognised his talent and encouraged him to study art. New research has revealed that Spencer married Margaret Carrig on 19 January 1743 at St Benet Paul’s Wharf, a Welsh Anglican church in the City of London. They had at least two sons – Thomas born in 1748 and Robert Carrig – and a daughter.

Ivory Registration: RD5X54ZF

Item Ref. 6835

Size: framed, 50 x 42mm