This wonderful glass paste portrait cameo of Mary Dixon is by the sought after artist John Henning (born 2 May 1771 – died 8 April 1851). John Henning was a self-taught Scottish carpenter and artist who produced high quality cameos of his friends and family. Henning’s works were championed by Josiah Wedgwood who was impressed with the quality of his work. He produced a number of portrait medallions, with sitters such as Sir Walter Scott, James Watt and Princess Charlotte. Henning is most well-known for his plaster reproductions of the Parthenon Frieze which was sold to customers including George IV.

Our original example has been produced in enamel paste a process invented by Henning in 1800; the truncation features the impressed script ‘Mrs Dixon. Henning F (fecit) 1810.’ The medallion is housed behind its original convex glass in its original papier mache frame.

The portrait was taken by John Henning at Mary Dixon’s home in 1810. Our research shows that Mary Dixon (née Smeaton) was born in 1761 and died about 1824. She was the daughter of the renowned engineer John Smeaton, one of the first true civil engineers. His most famous work is the third Eddystone Lighthouse.

Mary Smeaton married Jeremiah Dixon on the 6th of December 1781. Jeremiah Dixon became mayor of Leeds in 1784 and the couple moved to the Fell Foot Estate, Staveley, near Windermere. Mary Dixon was an accomplished artist and musician, she worked predominately in oils. Mary founded a free-school for girls at Staveley.

Measuring: Frame width 4 5/8 inch (11.5 cm) by height 5.5 inch (14 cm). Aperture diameter 2 5/8 inch (6.5 cm).

Condition: Some minor surface cracks to the papier mache, small stable crack to top right corner of the frame.

This is a rare example with their only being one additional known example of this sitter in existence. The example being held at the Paisley Museum. This is a quality item with a fascinating history by one of the most sought after sculptors of the early 19th century.
Please see a similar example in the same technique in the National Portrait Gallery online collection; Museum Number NPG 5460.

FREE Air tracked posatge, 6 month layaway a convenient option to make this treasure yours.
Black, White
Eclectic, English Country, Historical, Traditional
England • English
Early 19th Century

Trinity Antiques

John Henning Portrait Paste Profile Circa 1810, John Smeaton Engineer Connection


Add to Cart
Email Shop Owner

2 other shoppers are interested in this item

    Unique, quality antiques direct from The Cotswolds, England for sustainable home interiors.
    Curated with love. Celebrating 11 wonderful years on Ruby Lane and Platinum shop status.


    since 2011

    Est. Tax:We are unable to obtain a tax quote at this time.
    Shipping to: USA

    Trinity Antiques

    Victoria Clark
    Email Shop Owner
    The Cotswolds , England , UK This Shop is rated Platinum - 1,000 or more sales Platinumsince 2011

    More From This Seller