Joseph Highmore (1692-1780) Portrait of a Lady

Joseph Highmore (1692-1780) Portrait of a Lady

c. 1745 England

Offered by Timothy Langston

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Portrait of a Lady c.1745
Oil on canvas.
Held in a rococo style giltwood frame.

Dimensions refer to framed size.

Provenance: Formerly with Messum’s fine art dealers; Sotheby’s; Private collection, United Kingdom.



Joseph Highmore initially worked as lawyer, abandoning his practice to become an artist. He became a highly successful portrait painter, studying under Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1715. Highmore travelled to the Netherlands to study works by Rubens and van Dyck, later spending time in Paris. By the mid-1730s he obtained commissions from the Royal Family, such as Queen Caroline of Ansbach (Hampton Court, Royal Collection). By the 1740s, Highmore was well established and had developed an affluent middle-class clientele. His popularity was in part due to his ability to capture a likeness in one sitting. His early works show direct influence of Kneller’s style of portraiture, but with a more realistic, albeit slightly less masterful rendering. His later style was affected by French Rococo artists, such as Philippe Mercier and Hubert Gravelot, who were both established in London during the 1730s and 1740s. But their influence is less traceable in Highmore’s portraits than in his genre illustrations. In 1744 he painted a series of 12 illustrations for Samuel Richardson’s novel “Pamela”. This has been compared with William Hogarth’s “Marriage a la Mode”, although Highmore’s work is less boisterous and satirical, while being more refined.

This portrait also dates from the mid-1740s. The attractive young sitter is dressed in fashionable attire, having a blue silk ribbon with bows at the front of her dress and in her hair. The shimmering satin dress is further enhanced by a gold ribbon, an embroidered shawl across her shoulders and a delicate lace decoupage.

Dimensions
Height 36.00 inch (91.44 cm)
Width 31.50 inch (80.01 cm)
Stock Code
0807
Medium
Oil on Canvas
Timothy Langston

Timothy Langston
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