A Gentleman, believed to be Charles Stuart, 7th Earl of Traquair (1744-1827)

JOHN SMART (1742-1811)

A Gentleman, believed to be Charles Stuart, 7th Earl of Traquair (1744-1827)

1793 United Kingdom

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wearing a mole-coloured coat with gold and white embroidered waistcoat
set in gold frame with green glass border and split pearl border, the reverse glazed to reveal plaited brown hair, later green leather case

Smart was a rival to the young Richard Cosway but his miniatures are markedly different; although both artist were painting portraits on a small scale, Cosway opted for a more virtuoso style of painting, which he executed with a lightness of touch. Smart, however, embraced a more delicate meticulous style as seen in the present work.
In 1765 Smart had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Artists, becoming Director in 1772 a year before this miniature was executes, and President in 1778. It was not long before he established himself as one of the most talented miniaturists in the country, exhibiting many works at the Royal Academy.

In Daphne Foskett's book John Smart, The Man and his Miniatures, there are 6 miniatures being recorded as painted in 1773. Based on comparison with other known portraits the sitter in this current miniature is most likely to be Charles Stuart, 7th Earl of Traquair, whose sister Lady Lucy, also had her portrait taken in 1773.


Charles married 19 August 1773 Mary Ravenscroft (d. 11 Jul 1796 in Madrid), 2nd daughter and co-heirsess of George Ravenscroft, of Wykeham, co. Lincoln, by his wife Mary Walpole, daughter. of John Walpole, of Dunston and Pinchbeck, co. Lincoln. They had two children,Hon Charles Stuart, later 8th Earl of Traquair and Lady Louisa Stuart (b. 20 Mar 1776; d. 6 Dec 1875). There are notes in Mary Ravenscroft's diary regarding suitable candidates for her future husband based on their financial success. Charles's name is not one of the candidates so one wonders why she choose him for husband. Especially as Charles's family were beset by financial problems due in part to his gambling and unsuccessful explorations for mining for minerals.
Dimensions
Height 1.25 inch (3.17 cm)
Stock Code
4391
Medium
watercolour on iovry
Signed/Inscribed
signed with initials and dated 1773
Ellison Fine Art

Ellison Fine Art
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United Kingdom

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