Thomas Wageman (1787-1863)
Portrait of a Young Lady
Large Watercolour in Oval Frame. Signed (lower right) and dated 1849 (lower right). Excellent Condition. Framed in an antique Oval light brown, wooden frame, with a few age marks in places, which compliments the picture very well.
Measurements: * Picture 39.5cm x 29.7cm (approx 15.5 inches x 11.75 inches) * Framed 67.5cm x 57.5cm (approx 26.5 inches x 22.5 inches)
Portrait of a Young Lady is a Genre Painting by the listed British artist Thomas Wageman (1787-1863). Wageman was a portrait painter who specialized in pictures of actors in their leading roles. His work is present in private and public collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum. Most notably, he is represented at the National Portrait Gallery, London where he is associated with 42 portraits.
"A Family Portrait" by Thomas Wageman was sold at Christies, London on 24 May 2011 (Sale 6171 Lot 405 for US $ 643; see also "Portrait of Henry Howard, later Cardinal Howard" sold on 21 June 2004, Sale 7000 Lot 192 for £1,195 (approx US $2,200).
LITERATURE: A. Rose, M.Valdfogel The Art and Mind of Victorian England, Minneapolis 1974.
Thomas Charles Wageman (1787-1863) is credited with having established a category of aestethic painting in which feminine beauty and fine painted decorative accessories play a major part. He oversaw the formation of the New Society of Painters in Water-Colours in 1831, with Joseph Powell, W. Cohen, James Fuge, Thomas Maisey and others. It evolved into the group now known as the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours. He had earlier specialized in portraits of actors in their leading roles and enjoyed considerable commercial success. He returned to this particular field constantly throughout his career and he is chiefly remembered for such portraits – see the watercolour portrait of the celebrated actor John Fawcett (1768-1837) as Autolycus from The Winter's Tale, 1828, now at the Albert and Victoria Museum, London.
Portrait of a Young Lady is a good example of Wageman's aestethic approach applied to a genre subject. A very young girl is seated in an extensive garden, with a sweet look on her face, the fresh beauty of which is compared to the basket of flowers she holds. Minutely drawn, Wageman's evocation of the popular Victorian theme of a solitary female in a garden has many precedents. John Ruskin had written an essay entitled Of Queens Gardens in which he promoted the idea of the Victorian lady as the ultimate gardener and guardian of virtue in both the home and country.