March - a few Snippets and an Addition

Apologies to any readers who have wondered what has become of my blog entries. I confess over the last few months, I have decided to try and write a biography about one of the sitters in a miniature portrait, Sir Anthony Carlisle. Hence all my spare time (and more!) has been directed towards that.

It has involved a great deal of reading and Internet research, with the draft biography now well over 150,000 words. Carlisle is an absolutely fascinating research subject.

A tiny amount of my research about him can be seen at Bone, Henry - portrait of Sir Anthony Carlisle but most of the more really interesting information about him is in the draft, including the great male-midwifery debate he was involved with around 1830.

The most exciting discovery about him is surprising, as there is strong evidence that he wrote some Gothic novels, which were published anonymously in the late 18C.

I am now trying to see if I can find a publisher who would regard the biography as a commercial proposition.

If any reader has any papers or other items belonging to him, I would love to hear about them. Also from any interested publisher!

Additions are becoming much harder to find and I have more or less stopped looking in the interim and as I am so busy researching and writing.

However, there has been one addition of interest to the collection, by an unknown artist, it is a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette and there is an attached lock of hair.

It is most likely a copy portrait, but so far I have not been able to find an identical pose.

Thus it may possibly be an original miniature of him, from his visit to the United States. For more, see Unknown - Marquis de Lafayette

Every week I get emails from people about miniature portraits. Some ask about miniatures they own and some tell me more about artists and sitters. For example today I received some information about Daisy Blades who I knew very little about. It can be seen at Blades, Daisy - portrait of a child Yesterday I received some information about Harriet Horton which I added to Horton, Harriet - portrait of Anna Helen Garth Goodlett I am always grateful for such information as it makes the website a better and better resource for collectors.

It is also nice from time to time, to help people find pictures of some of their ancestors or distant relations, and add more information about them.

The Market Place
I was relieved to see this decorative copy of a miniature of Napoleon did not sell on eBay after being listed for 30 days at a price of $3000!!

It was described as by Jacques Louis David 1748-1825; "Remarkable artisanship is prominently displayed in this fine French handpainted in watercolor, miniature portrait of Napoleon in a gracefully chased bronze trimmed frame. The painting is signed by Jacques Louis DAVID (1748-1825)- see close up photo. Napoleon, a friend and patron to David made David his 'premier peintre de l'Empereur' and gave him many important commissions. David won the blue ribbon of French art and was elected to to the Academie in 1783. During his heyday David reigned supreme in the French School painting style with pupils and disciples including Girodet, Gros, Gerard, Leopold Robert, Abel de Pujol and Ingres. The backing of this piece is cloth and held by tabs from the frame. Dimensions: h. 3" w. 2 1/2". Circa 1803 - 1815."

When it was first listed, I emailed the US dealer to tell him his description was wrong and it was a fake. He told me that six!!! experts had viewed it and told him it was genuine. That just shows how careful buyers need to be. I am afraid it is still necessary to "Buyer Beware" despite what dealers claim! If it had been a genuine miniature of Napoleon I would guess the value at close to $100,000. As it is, even $300 would be too much for it!

Another fake was this miniature which from the painting style, appears to date from the 1960's. The seller advertised it as "Georgian French Portrait Miniature of Young Lady and Puppet ***Circa Late 1700s*** This is a fine quality miniature of a French Breathtaking Young Lady with a "polichinelle" or Puppet. She is exquisitely hand-painted with watercolors on ivory and if there is a signature along the edge (hidden by framing) or on the back I am unsure as I hesitate to disassemble the original frame and glass , She is dressed in an in Georgian Period dress so I would date this at appx 1790."

As regular visitors will realise it is another "genuine fake". It sold for $199.95, but is not worth that.

Other more interesting genuine miniatures included this group.

The young lady sold for GBP 1510, which seems very high. but I do not know the artist.

Another was the Franz Hals copy of a young man by Lillian Reubena Deane which sold for only $59.

She was an American artist and there are several miniature portraits by her in this collection. I think the price was very cheap for a listed artist.

I am not very good at picking British artists, but think this one shown front and rear which sold as unknown for GBP300 might be Gustavus Hamilton, an Irish artist of the 18C.

Another good buy for GBP255 was this Georgian silver pique work tooth pick box. The lid has a delightful portrait miniature of a child dressed in a leopard skin with a vine leaf crown, leaning on a shield holding a branch. Box measures 4" long by 1 & 1/8ths" front to back. The portrait measures just under 1" high.

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