Early to mid-19th Century English School. Portrait of a boy listening to a pocket watch. Oil on Canvas, in a Watts frame. Apparently unsigned. Sight (visible painting) 20.5” x 16.5” (52cm x 42cm). Frame: 27” x 27” (69cm x 69cm)
James Sant (British 1820–1916) would be a natural attribution as the artist, for subject and style. However, the style of the lace collar suggests to us that it may be a little early for him. Although, Watts frames of this style would not be earlier than the 1860s and the framer's label verso dates from 1880 or later, we think that the frame is most likely not original to the painting.
The look on the boy’s face as he listens to the watch is wonderful. The lack of the rigid formality commonly found in 19th-century portraits is particularly attractive. If we were to imagine the perfect home for this painting it would be in the room where a collector of pocket watches keeps their collection. However, the attractions are also obvious for any collector of 19th-century portraiture.
CONDITION: The painting is in very good, ready to hang, condition. Only very minor retouching in the background was found under ultraviolet light, although this does cause the varnish to fluoresce slightly opaque, so it is hard to be certain. There are faint stretcher creases.
The frame is of excellent quality and is in good condition. We believe it to be a genuine Watts frame. A little retouching and cleaning of the frame may be desirable, although it all works together as age patination. The edges around the back of the sides of the frame have been painted but this does not detract from it.
In general, to our taste, the condition of the painting and frame is appropriate to its age and not in need of improvement.
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Antique Early to Mid-19th Century English School. Portrait of a Boy Listening to a Pocket Watch. Oil on Canvas. in a Watts frame.
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