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Antique Georgian Oil Painting, Portrait of a Handsome Man, Gilt Gesso Frame
A superb oil painting, portrait of a man of Georgian to very earliest Victorian era, still housed in the original gifted gesso on wood oval frame, all in exceptionally fine form. The painting is achieved in oil on board rather than canvas, and is sized to be larger than a typical portrait miniature, but still small enough to be a very intimate presentation, just 12" x 9.5" in the oval frame, as shown. The gilding & frame maker's stamp remains on the backside of the mounted wooden panel, so we know that it was framed by Charles Bennett, 20, High Street, Taunton, England. War of the Roses mention: You remember Taunton, perhaps, as the site of the 1471 battle between Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon, and Baron Bonville. A more modern day mention: "Taunton is the county town of Somerset, England. The town, including its suburbs, had an estimated population of 61,400 in 2001. It is the largest town in the shire county of Somerset. The town has over 1,000 years of religious and military history, and is now undergoing a regeneration project. It has various transport links which support its central role in economy and commerce. Taunton is the site of Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset County Cricket Club's County Ground and is home to 40 Commando, Royal Marines. Central Taunton is part of the annual West Country Carnival circuit. It hosts the Taunton flower show, which has been held in Vivary Park since 1866" (Wikipedia quote). So a bit about the area from which this frame, and very likely the painting itself, hail. Though I see no signature, the portrait is certainly a grand work of art, and that of a very skilled portraitist. Would that we knew who this gentleman was, but perhaps the information we have will open the door for more research by the next owner, should they wish to learn more. If any of you Art History and local arts experts can help us identify either the gentleman or the artist, we would be greatly appreciative of an email. Thanks in advance for sharing knowledge.
Very good to excellent in form and condition, the painting is remarkable! A little dust accumulated on surface over the centuries, and a slight surface abrasion to the face at the chin (see it as a lighter line), which isn't a gouge, but a very light rub. I believe it would be very simple to touch that up, but we'll leave that decision to the next owner, as well. A rare and exceptional treatment of light in this very capable portrait, indeed. The work is all the more remarkable in person. The original frame remains quite fully intact, though you can see there is a bit of a hairline there at the base of that crest or crown up top of the oval. We've highlighted it in our images for your inspection. C. 1820-1840, we believe, and a fabulous painting to accompany your interest in portrait miniatures, or just as a decorative addition to your home. We did not take this painting out of its frame in order to check to see if an artist's signature might be found on the outer rim, hidden by the rabbit of the frame. The gentleman is hanging on display in my own home at listing time, elegant faux-ancestor that he seems.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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