"Portrait Of A Lady Circa 1850; Circle Of James Godsell Middleton (c.1805-1874)"Portrait of a Lady circa 1850
Circle of James Godsell Middleton (c.1805-1874)
This tender portrait is a fine representation of female beauty. It was a popular subject in the 19th Century and many artists were influenced by the schools such as the Royal Academy. For the first time, large numbers of pictures were painted whose sole raison d’être was a depiction of such beauty; not so much in the form of specific portraiture, but more as a homage to feminine beauty in its own right. Many artists worked in this lucrative genre.
The fluid handling shows all the vigour and style of the English portrait with the clear fresh palette, the bright eyes and the beautiful rendering. The modelling of the face is particularly attractive. It can be dated to the 1850’s based on the attire and hairstyle.
The reverse of the canvas contains a stencil “C. Davy, Artists Colourman, 83 Newman Street, Oxford St, London”. Artists often purchased readymade primed canvases and supports from suppliers. Robert and Charles Davy ran a busy and prolific firm, established in the 1790’s. Charles Davy operated at 83 Newman St from 1843 to 1862 (Newman street was a working artist’s street with nearly every house, over 50 years, being occupied at one time or another by an artist studio). As such this portrait can be dated to after 1842. Middlton often signed and dated the reverse of his works - there are numerous signed portraits, with the address 76 Newman St, London, from 1836 to 1863 in existence. From 1855 he signed and gave an address of 33 Carrington Square, London.
James Godsell Middleton (1805-1874) was a London born British artist well known in his day and a popular choice for aristocracy and other distinguished society figures. Like most portrait painters in London he was influenced by dominant masters of the portrait genre such as Thomas Lawrence. He was a skilful draughtsman and an accomplished colourist; his controlled yet spontaneous appearing brushstrokes lend a certain air of immediacy to his works. He exhibited consistently throughout his career at many academies such as London’s Royal Academy, Ireland’s Royal Hibernian Academy, and the British Institution and established a highly successful practice in London, after spending some time in Rome, where his self-portrait is to be found in the Pitti palace, Florence. He was active right up to 1872, two years before his death. His daughters, Mary and Josephine, were also portrait painters and almost certainly studio assistants.
Amongst others he depicted Napoleon III, Viscountess Beaconsfield, Countess of Blessington, 2nd Baron Carrington, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, Countess of Portarlington etc. His work is found in various museums around the world and the British Government’s art collection and various National Trust properties. Middleton’s portrait of Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry sold in 2004 for $122,419 and is currently held at Mount Stewart, National Trust. On 13th May 2004 in London a Portrait of Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquis of Londonderry (1855, oil on canvas, 114 × 76 ins/289 × 194 cm) sold for £58,000.
Measurements: Height 97cm, Width 86cm framed (Height 38.25”, Width 33.75” framed)