Pair of 18th Century Pastel Portraits
Pair of 18th Century Pastel Portraits
Pair of 18th Century Pastel Portraits
Pair of 18th Century Pastel Portraits
Pair of 18th Century Pastel Portraits

JOHN RUSSELL RA (1745-1806)

Pair of 18th Century Pastel Portraits

1789 England

Offered by Arthistorical Ltd.

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John Russell RA
(Guildford 1745 - 1806 Hull)
A pair of oval, pastel portraits of Charles Elliott (1752-1826) of New Bond Street, London; and his wife, Eling Venn
Pastel on paper, in matching gold-coloured frames
The second signed and dated 1789, in pencil, centre right: J Russell R A. pt / 1789
Dimensions: The first 60 by 44 cm / 23.5 x 17 inches; the second 59 cm. x 44 cm. / 23 x 17 inches

G.C. Williamson, John Russell R.A. , London, 1894, pp. 44 and 142, no. 3;
N. Barton, 'Rise of a Royal Furniture Maker', Country Life, 10 February 1966, p. 293

John Russell is renowned for his portraits in oil and especially pastel; in 1790 he was appointed official Painter-in-Crayon (i.e. pastel) to King George III and the Royal family. As a result his pastel portraits were highly sought-after and the quality of his works were considered on a par with those of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792).

The sitters here are Charles Elliott and his second wife, Eling Venn, daughter of the Reverend Henry Venn, an Anglican clergyman and one of the most important figures in the Evangelical movement in the eighteenth-century. Charles Elliott was a British cabinet-maker and importer of furniture by Royal appointment. In 1792 Elliott became a shareholder in the Sierra Leone Company, a scheme for settling freed slaves in Africa. Its supporters included the famous slavery abolitionist, William Wilberforce, and other members of the Clapham Sect, a small but important group of Church of England social reformers based in the eponymous suburb of London, who Elliott and his wife were associated with.

As part of his Royal duties, Elliott also arranged the funeral carriage for Admiral Lord Nelson in 1805 after the victorious Battle of Trafalgar, which defeated the combined French and Spanish forces under Napoleon Bonaparte, and extinguished the threat of a French invasion of Britain.

Please enquire for further information and research.
By family descent to Charles Henry Venn Elliott;
His sale, London, Christie's, 14 July 1987, lot 148;
With Simon Dickinson, London;
Private collection, England
Arthistorical Ltd.

Arthistorical Ltd.

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