When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Frederick Buck


The tilt of this young lady’s head, her rosy cheeks, her empire-line dress and the blue and white cloud sky are all recognisable traits of Frederick Buck’s style of portraiture. His sky effect is achieved by painting the blue to the reverse side.

It was a shrewd move when Irish miniaturist Frederick Buck decided to establish a studio in Cork for not only was the port bustling with traders, it was an important army base with a large barracks where regiments paused before setting sail for foreign engagements. So much coming and going guaranteed Buck a steady clientele of sitters. He was both prolific and resourceful as an artist: it’s said he would make it his business to find out which regiments would soon be passing through and then set about painting multiple copies of the appropriate uniform so that when the officers finally arrived and were attracted into his studio looking for a keepsake portrait to send home to their family in case the worst happened abroad, he only needed to paint on the individual heads and personal features. This kept the sitting time to a minimum whilst maximising his output. The trick was less likely to work for his female sitters despite the popularity of white empire-line dresses as surely vanity would have led each lady to be painted wearing her own choice of dress and personal accessories.

The portrait is in fine condition retaining its fresh clean colours. It is housed in what is probably the original papier-mâché frame with an acorn hanger.

APHA Registration: HMYEK1YT

Item Ref. 7016

Size: framed, 132 x 112mm