Portrait of Elizabeth, Lady Forbes (c. 1750-1802), half-length, in a white dress and a pink mantle, with feathers, ribbons and pearls in her hair
(Information provided by Christie's) This portrait of Lady Forbes has not been publicly exhibited since 1859 and has never previously been offered at auction, having descended in the sitter's family to the present owners.The eldest daughter of Sir James Hay M.D., Bt., of Haystoun, Peeblesshire, Elizabeth married the influential Edinburgh banker, Sir William Forbes, 6th Bt. of Monymusk (1739-1806), in 1770. Forbes was only four when he inherited the baronetcy, and later succeeded to the title and arms of Pitsligo in 1781, but declined the offer by Pitt of an Irish peerage in 1799 and also refused parliamentary seats. Articled to Coutts bank in Edinburgh at the age of fifteen, Forbes forged a career as one of the leading bankers of his age in Scotland, always paying tribute to the Coutts family as the architects of his success. ... A man of considerable wealth, Forbes was also a great philanthropist...
Forbes commissioned Reynolds to paint this arresting portrait of his wife, together with a portrait of himself, in circa 1775-6 (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, New Haven and London, 2000, I, p. 199, no. 657; II, fig. 1182). Untraced since it was exhibited in 1859, this painting was not included in the catalogue raisonné of the artist's work published by David Mannings in 2000. However, Professor Mannings and Martin Postle have independently confirmed the attribution and dated this portrait to circa 1775-6, the former on the basis of photographs and the latter on first-hand inspection of the painting.
Gilbert Stuart studied under Benjamin West when he lived in London, but also took courses from Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds was surely an inspiration to Stuart.
top Joshua Reynolds by Angelica Kauffmann (click for link)
bottom J. Reynolds by Gilbert Stuart
From Lawrence Park (on Stuart's portrait of Reynolds)
This celebrated English portrait painter was born July 16, 1723, at Plympton, in Devonshire. His father was the Reverand Samuel Reynolds, and his mother, Theophila, daughter of Matthew Potter. Studied under Thomas Hudson in London from 1740 to 1743. In 1749 he went to Italy and lived for two years in Rome. In 1752 he returned, via Paris, to London, and his brilliant career of forty years followed. In 1768 he was one of the founders of the Royal Academy, London, and became its first president. The same year he was knighted.
***The portrait of Lady Forbes sold for $339,901.00. According to the Wall St J Dec 8-9 2012 some works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck and Tintoretto were 'snubbed.' I am sorry to say that I was not the one who was able to purchase this lovely portrait, the buyer remains unidentified. I hope that the portrait is able to be shown to the public in the future, for it is stunning. It is possible to see Reynolds' influence on Stuart's portrait style. I wonder how the owner, supposedly a descendant, could part with it.
THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
a wealthy Boston merchant provides a lavish lifestyle for his daughter Hepzibah, aka Madame Swan; a Lovely Portrait by Gilbert Stuart
NEXT more on the Swans, Stuart portrait of James Swan...& his fate in prison...
Monday, October 15, 2012
Hello - I was wondering if you could help me out here. I just purchased this oil painting of George Washington and the seller did not know who the artist was. In fact, neither did I until I looked closely at the signature. From my research Gilbert Stuart did not sign his artwork which leads me to believe this is not authentic. However, from what I can tell I do know the painting is a true oil painting and not a print and it is very old. The owner said he got it from an estate sale and estimated it from 1870-1890. The canvas on the back is very old and brown from age.
My questions are: could this be a Gilbert Stuart? I highly doubt, but if it's not what's more interesting is why would someone sign his name to pass it off? the painting is of very good quality so I assume the original artist was someone who was very talented too. I just find it very interesting how many hands this could have passed through with either knowing it was unauthentic or who's put the signature there etc. Were his paintings counterfeit a lot in the late 1800's? Sorry I am rambling, just curious to understand this painting more...
Monday, September 17, 2012
Thank you, Irene
Thanks for your note! The portrait does not have the hallmarks of a Stuart portrait... Most importantly, Stuart painted so close to reality that the sitter could expect something akin to a photograph. Portraits of women were not idealized, the backgrounds were often similar to the portraits of men (red curtain, bit of sky), accents such as gauzy flowers adorning the canvas were not something he indulged in. This portrait just does not look like a Stuart to me, from looking at the graphic. There is nothing about it, that makes me think...maybe! Stuart has a certain type of strong swish to his accents, the sitters do not appear in a fog of sweetness, but as they appear in reality~ The clothing also does not strike me as being from the period from when Stuart was working. The face was the most important aspect of a Stuart painting so that often the rest of the portrait is nondescript, essentially, in comparison to the face. There is no differentiation in this portrait between the quality & style of the face, and the rest of the portrait....This looks to be a portrait whose style was at the direction of the sitter, not a sitter who was obliged to accept the direction/style of the master artist (which was the way Stuart worked, no woman could ask for flattery in her portrait--he was known to become very angry if such a thing happened). This is, simply, not his style. I am about 97% sure that it is not a Stuart, without seeing the portrait firsthand.
I hope this helps. Can I post your graphic and query on my blog? I would not need to include your name.
Thank you very much for your reply. Disappointing news, of course, but this is the type of information I was looking for, so I very much appreciate your thoughtful comments.Yes, by all means, you may use the image and anything else here.Sincerely,
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Sally follows Matilda's example; Another young American, Sally McKean weds the successor of the Marquis Yrujo and enters European nobility
It is possible that they met that year at a dinner party in Philadelphia:
Saturday, June 30, 2012
The power of Spain in America prompts Matilda and Josef to engage in matrimony and have their portraits done by Stuart in full pomp, but the glory did not last long.
America at the time was under the thumb of Spain in many ways; until 1795 Spain was in control of navigation of the Mississippi River and transport through the port of New Orleans. The Spanish from 1762 were the owners of the vast region known as the Louisiana territory, stretching from the Mississippi River to the beginning of the Rocky Mountains (taken back by Napoleon in 1800). Spanish currency, a gold coin called the pistole, was commonly in use. Matilda surely had her father’s eager consent to marry this young diplomat from her father’s native homeland, and the father must have thought that Josef had every prospect of rising to the elite of the social/political set. Josef’s outfit in the Stuart portrait, a dark blue velvet coat over scarlet waistcoat and breeches and threaded profusely with silver embroidery, matching in opulence Matilda’s billowing confection of silks and diamonds, boasts of wealth and aristocracy. Yet within the two years, it is suggested that Josef was involved in some type of corruption, and the brilliant couple was sent back in disgrace to Spain, living out the rest of their lives at the family’s ancestral estate, a vineyard. They live on in their sumptuous portraits.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Monthly pick: Matilda Stoughton [de Jaudenes y Nebot] has big dreams and marries a minor Spanish attaché; the portrait by Gilbert Stuart
|1794 Matilda in silks, diamonds, pearls, & snowflake piochas (hairpins)|
Monday, May 21, 2012
Phoebe married Job Brookfield, and the Meeker name was gone. Their daughter Mary married a Martin and the Brookfield name was gone. Other marriages by women and the name changed from Martin (see Carrie Martin m. Cory in the post before this or click here), to Cory (see fixed labels on right for Cory), then Ahrens (my mom is Carolyn Cory now 84 who married my dad John Ahrens). Here is a photo of this generation of Ahrens (with the exception of my daughter Lily K. in the red skirt when I married Willy Kley, a prof of astrophysics in Germany.) The Meeker twins, Samuel and Phoebe would be proud of this batch of descendants. Taken a few months ago.
Samuel had no direct descendants as his son passed away at a young age. Click here or scroll down 2 posts. His son Samuel Hampton Meeker b. 1796 died May 21 1822. Exactly 190 years ago today.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Dr. Ben Cory's son Lewis marries Carrie Martin from the Westfields NJ & ...a remarkable genetic similarity to the Stuart portrait!
Carrie is the daughter-in-law of Dr. Ben Cory, and my gt grandmother. More on Carrie and her family in the next post!
~click here for the provenance of the portrait~
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Samuel Meeker at this time was 49. For many years before the outbreak of the war, Samuel Meeker was engaged in the trade/wholesale/retail business; his second firm was located at #20 South Front Street in Philadelphia and was called Meeker Denman & Co. comprising Samuel himself, his first cousin William Meeker, and brother-in-law Samuel Denman.
click on image below for a larger view
~The authenticity of Samuel Meeker as a work by Gilbert Stuart was further confirmed when I learned that his cousin William’s portrait was listed in the Lawrence Park volumes.~
“The present owner of this portrait was told at the time of its purchase that William Meeker was a member of the London firm of Meeker & Denman, shipping agents, and that he died en route to New Orleans in 1812. [slightly inaccurate, the firm was out of Philadelphia]
Canvas 28 x 23 inches.Bust, half-way to the right, with his light brown eyes directed to the spectator. His brown hair is brushed back, with curls in the neck, and tied with a black queue bow. He wears a dark blue, or blue-black, coat with small brass buttons; a very high white neckcloth and a ruffled shirt, with a bit of a white waistcoat showing. His complexion is ruddy and he wears small side-whiskers. The background is plain, of greenish-olive tones, becoming warm brown in the lower right corner.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Waterhouse left for England early 1775 to study medicine. The revolutionary war negatively impacting the business of portraiture, Stuart left himself for London, where he arrived with few funds in November of the same year. Waterhouse had already gone to Edinburgh to further his studies thus was not in a position to help out. Stuart took cheap lodgings, and found a position as church organist.
Monday, February 20, 2012
The following, below, is quoted from Gilbert Stuart by Barratt and Miles (see info on right) p 13
“Stuart learned to sketch faces and caricatures from an African slave, Neptune Thurston, and had in common with his best friend, Benjamin Waterhouse, a talent for drawing. He was better known in his youth as a superbly talented organist, the prize pupil of Trinity Church organist John Knoechel. Indeed, whenever and wherever in need, Stuart would seek employment at a local church before he would solicit commissions for portraits.
Stuart’s earliest known painting dates from about 1769 and portrays two spaniels belonging to Dr. William Hunter, nestling under a Townsend-Goddard side table. That year, Hunter had two painters in his employ; the 13-year-old Stuart and the recently arrived Aberdeen artist Cosmo Alexander (1724-1772)....”
AND...quoted from The Life and Works of Gilbert Stuart by George Mason p4
“No portfolio of Stuart’s early drawings has been preserved, for he had no portfolio. No record has been made of his early efforts—no record could be made,--for the first brush of a sleeve, the first passing shower, effaced what he had sketched with chalk or charcoal, on a fence, a slab, or a tail-board.” & p 5 “The earliest product of his pencil, so far as is known, is a picture owned by Thomas R. Hunter, Esq., of Newport, R.I., a couple of Spanish dogs. The following is the history of the picture, which has been carefully preserved;Dr. William Hunter, who came to America in 1752, had attained to a high position in his profession, and practiced medicine over a wide circuit of the country, having Newport for its centre. During a professional visit at the house of Gilbert Stuart, he asked Mrs. Stuart who made all the drawings in chalk and charcoal on the sides of the barn. She replied by pointing to her son, with whom the Doctor at once entered into conversation. Before leaving, the Doctor made the lad promise (the boy’s mother having given her consent) that he would come to Newport on election day and make him a visit. The boy was true to his engagement, and the Doctor, interested in the young sketcher, gave him brushes and colors, and bade him paint a picture of the two dogs that were lying on the floor under a table. Stuart at once entered upon the work, and while engaged in painting the picture, remained a guest in the house of Dr. Hunter."
Below is lil ms Daisy, she joined my household about 3 weeks ago. Lots of work! But as cute as the spaniels...!
I'm going to enter Daisy into the next Westminster Kennel Club dog show!
(competeing as a "Cheagle" ~a Beagle and a Chihuahua~:)
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Captain Richard Neville, Butleigh Court, Glastonbury; Christie's, London, 5 April 1946 lot 58 (380 gns. to Polak).with Leggatt Brothers, London, 1953, where purchased byDaniel H. Farr.Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 24 November 1965, lot 74 (£1400 to J. Maas).Vincent Price.with Sears, Roebuck and Co., Chicago, 1966, from whom purchased by the present owners. PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DR. AND MRS. FRANCIS D. FOWLER