The Ermine Stole

William Egley, attrib.


Inspired by Greek statuary, Apollo knots came into fashion around 1826. The hair was piled up in a precarious bun on the top of the head with ringlets framing the face. It was often decorated with feathers or jewels. This young lady has, however, just added a narrow head band. She is dressed for the evening party in an inky black silk décolleté dress with a brooch on her corsage and a long gold chain around her neck. To guard against the evening chill, she has added a luxurious ermine stole.

Although unsigned, the portrait can be attributed to the hand of William Egley (1798-1870). Born in Doncaster, Egley first worked in publishing before taking up painting and exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1824 and 1869. His obituary described him as “a thorough gentleman of the last century” and reported that “Mr Egley’s conversation was interesting and agreeable, and shortened the time pleasantly to those that sat to him for their likenesses. It was the wit of a Voltaire, united to the bonhomie of a Lafontaine.”

The portrait is in fine condition. It is set with a gilt metal mount within a walnut veneer frame with an inner giltwood slip.

Item Ref. JH014

Size: framed, 165 x 152mm (6 x 6")