The Spotted Bandeau

Isabella Beetham


Isabella Beetham began cutting silhouettes to support her young family. Her husband, Edward, was a dabbler who tried his hand at many things from acting on stage to building a new-fangled washing machine. Isabella was fortunate to be given painting lessons during the early 1780s from John Smart, the acclaimed miniaturist. Thereafter she successfully added painted silhouettes to her repertoire. Her bust-length work on convex glass is particularly appealing and is amongst her most accomplished and sought-after work.

This example of reverse painting on glass shows a lady with meticulously painted curls held in place with a spotted voile bandeau. She also wears a beaded necklace. The face is painted in pure black with the costume and hair detail achieved by a combination of finger-printing and scratching out with a pin. Backed with plaster, the silhouette is set in the original turned pearwood frame backed with the artist’s unbroken trade label no. 5 from her time at Fleet Street.

Item Ref. TS9036

Size: framed, 137 x 125mm