Colonel The Hon. James Hamilton (1746-1804) of the Coldstream Guards, wearing a jacket, waistcoat and lace cravat, his hair worn en queue, c.1784
Colonel The Hon. James Hamilton (1746-1804) of the Coldstream Guards, wearing a jacket, waistcoat and lace cravat, his hair worn en queue, c.1784
Colonel The Hon. James Hamilton (1746-1804) of the Coldstream Guards, wearing a jacket, waistcoat and lace cravat, his hair worn en queue, c.1784

JOHN SMART (1742-1811)

Colonel The Hon. James Hamilton (1746-1804) of the Coldstream Guards, wearing a jacket, waistcoat and lace cravat, his hair worn en queue, c.1784

c. 1784 England

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£14,500 gbp
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This exquisitely-detailed ad vivum portrait-sketch of Colonel James Hamilton would almost certainly have been produced as a preparatory drawing by the artist John Smart. Smart often drew detailed likenesses of his sitters, with clothing and colour observations noted as reminders on the reverse. These sketches would later be used to create finished portrait miniatures on ivory. This drawing is not only an intimate glimpse of James Hamilton’s first sittings with John Smart but it also provides an insight into Smart’s meticulous working method.

Daphne Foskett in John Smart: The Man and his Miniatures records both the sketch and the finished portrait of James Hamilton with portraits of Hamilton’s brother, Admiral and then Captain, Charles Powell Hamilton and his wife Lucretia (née Prosser).[1] The finished portrait miniature of Colonel James Hamilton was sold at Sotheby’s in 2011, alongside a miniature of Hamilton’s wife, Lucy (née Lloyd), also by Smart.[2]

The international lawyer Arthur Jaffé, the previous owner of this portrait, was an avid collector of portrait miniatures and hoped to write a catalogue raisonné of John Smart’s work.[3] Although he did not complete this project, Daphne Foskett was able to use his notes to write her book John Smart: The Man and his Miniatures, which she dedicated to Jaffé in 1964. As can be seen by the present work, Jaffé researched his collection thoroughly and notes on the sitter and the artist are often transcribed on the reverse of the frames.

James Hamilton was the grandson of the 4th Duke of Hamilton and the elder of two sons of Lord Anne Hamilton and Anna Charlotte Maria Powell. Lord Anne was named after his godmother Queen Anne, hence his unconventional forename. James Hamilton became an officer of the Coldstream Guards on the 24th August 1762 and retired in 1781 with the rank of Captain. In 1767 he married Lucy Lloyd, the widow of Sir John Fytche-Barker, 7th Baronet and daughter of Sir Richard Lloyd of Hintlesham in Suffolk. He died at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in 1804 at the age of fifty-eight.[4]
By descent from the artist; Lilian Mary Dyer, née Bose (1871-1955), a great-granddaughter of the artist; Christie’s, London, 26 November 1937, lot 12 (12 gns. to Spink, part lot); Arthur Jaffé (1880-1954)
D. Foskett, John Smart. The Man and his Miniatures (London, 1964) p. 68.
Dimensions
Height 60.00 mm (2.36 inches)
Width 47.00 mm (1.85 inches)
Stock Code
3479
Medium
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Signed/Inscribed
‘Coll Hamilton / no.3 Leicester Street / Leicester Fields / Dark Blue Coat and / Waistcoat’ written by John Smart; red and black ink inscriptions, both presumably by Arthur Jaffé noting the sitter’s biography
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