Portrait Of A Lady In A Blue And Pink Silk Dress, Possibly Mrs Rowe, Signed & Dated 1752 flag

Object description :

"Portrait Of A Lady In A Blue And Pink Silk Dress, Possibly Mrs Rowe, Signed & Dated 1752"
This charming picture, which has been signed and dated: H. Pickering pinxt 1752 is a type favoured by the highly successful artist Henry Pickering.  Pickering’s painting life, from 1740 to around 1770, spanned the period in which British art established a national identity and throughout the period this artist, familiar with contemporary Italian portraiture, played a dignified role.

The sitter has been portrayed in a luxurious shot silk dress, with a large bow on the bodice, and large gathered sleeves.  The sitter bears a striking resemblance to a portrait of ‘Mrs Rowe’ by the artist, also dated 1752 (sold Christies London 14 March 1952, Lot 94). Pickering painted several similar portraits on this model in the 1750s and there are versions with the exact pose and attire in extant.  The treatment of the folds of fabric is quite striking.  This portrait balances a Caledonian grace and restraint in the personification of the sitter with a rococo love of luxurious, pastel fabrics reflecting the light.  A feature is the exquisite finely carved period frame – which is quite a work of art in itself.

Henry Pickering was a fashionable and highly successful artist.  He travelled to Italy to learn from the old masters and returned to England in 1745, as was recorded by George Virtue.  By the 1750s he seems to have worked as an itinerant portrait painter travelling largely around Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales, and Manchester.  He is known to have resided at Hunter Street, Liverpool, in 1781 and 1790, where he took great advantage of the increased field of patronage of which to appeal as the city grew rapidly in size, importance, and wealth.  

His work can be compared stylistically to Thomas Hudson, who was taught by Reynolds, and may have been Pickering’s teacher.  Like many artists in England at the time Pickering employed the services of the drapery painter Joseph van Aken and in his will (dated 1759) he requested that his pictures 'may be finish'd by the Best Drapery Painter and then delivered to the Gentrey who have favoured me with their commands.' It is evident from the pictures which are signed and dated by Pickering between 1740 and 1770 that his sitters were mainly squires, baronets, and aldermen and their families. The majority of these works are now scattered in collections throughout Yorkshire and Lancashire. His largest and most ambitious painting Sir Wolston Dixie with his Third Wife, Two Sons and Six Daughters (1755; priv. coll.), was painted for Sir Wolston Dixie of Bosworth Park, Leicestershire, his most important patron. The pair of portraits Captain Thomas Johnson (later to become the mayor of Liverpool) and Mrs Thomas Johnson and her Daughter (1759) in Liverpool town hall reveal that Pickering continued to employ the same compositional devices and costumes that he had used in the 1740s. 

At the time of his death, he owned properties in Kirkby, Westminster, and elsewhere.  His will, dated 1759, records that he was married to Mary, with whom he had four children, and had a brother, Thomas, and sister, Charlotte.  He died in Manchester.

Examples of his work are held in many national museums and galleries in England and Wales.  A very similar portrait to ours sold at Sotheby’s London for £10,000 on 27th Oct 2015 (Lot 581. Portrait of a Lady, Half-length, in a Pink Dress).

Measurements:   Height 100cm, Width 88cm, Depth 7cm framed (Height 39.25”, Width 34.5”, Height 2.75“ framed)
Price: 8 650 €
Artist: Henry Pickering (c.1720-1770/71)
Period: 18th century
Style: Louis 15th - Transition
Condition: Excellent condition

Material: Oil painting
Width: 88
Height: 100
Depth: 7

Reference: 1325970
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Portrait Of A Lady In A Blue And Pink Silk Dress, Possibly Mrs Rowe, Signed & Dated 1752
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