Philip Mould & Company

John Smart – A Genius Magnified, Philip Mould & Company, 29 Dover Street, London W1, 25th November – 9th December 2014

 

This exhibition provides a great opportunity to buy a portrait by an artist considered to be the greatest miniature painter of his era.

A Portrait of Richard Twining (1749-1824) by John Smart.  Watercolour, silver-gilt bracelet clasp frame with diamond border. Signed with initials and dated ‘J.S/1771’. Oval, 39mm (1 . in.) high.  © Philip Mould & Company.

A Portrait of Richard Twining (1749-1824) by John Smart.
Watercolour, silver-gilt bracelet clasp frame with diamond border. Signed with initials and dated ‘J.S/1771’. Oval, 39mm (1 . in.) high.
© Philip Mould & Company.

Thanks to diligent research by the gallery’s Emma Rutherford and researcher Lawrence Hendra we now know more about the life of John Smart (1741-1811). Although thought to have come from Norfolk they have discovered that he was a Londoner, from Soho.

 A Lady, previously identified as ‘Lady Cockburn’, wearing a gold dress with lace trim decorated with pearls and sapphire, her hair worn curled and powdered and decorated with white ostrich feathers, by John Smart.  Watercolour, original gold frame (Colonial), signed with initials and dated ‘J.S/1785/I’, Oval, 50mm (2 in.) high.  © Philip Mould & Company.

A Lady, previously identified as ‘Lady Cockburn’, wearing a gold dress with lace trim
decorated with pearls and sapphire, her hair worn curled and powdered and decorated
with white ostrich feathers, by John Smart.
Watercolour, original gold frame (Colonial), signed with
initials and dated ‘J.S/1785/I’, Oval, 50mm (2 in.) high.
© Philip Mould & Company.

His sitters were mainly drawn from the wealthy merchant classes and this in 1785 led to him to India where he remained for the next ten years. Sitters from this time can be easily identified by the fact that he added the letter I to his signature and also the faces of the Caucasian sitters portrayed show signs of sunburn or are flushed from the heat. He also did some sketches of Indian subjects while he was in Madras.

A Young Hindu, probably called ‘Venkataramman’, wearing a jamaand turban by John Smart.  Pencil and watercolour on paper, inscribed on the reverse:‘VencatarammanBramin’. Gilded wood frame, Rectangular, 71 x 61mm (2 . x 2 ⅜ in.) © Philip Mould& Company.

A Young Hindu, probably called ‘Venkataramman’, wearing a jamaand turban by John Smart.
Pencil and watercolour on paper, inscribed on the reverse:‘VencatarammanBramin’. Gilded wood frame, Rectangular, 71 x 61mm (2 . x 2 ⅜ in.)
© Philip Mould& Company.

He returned to London in December 1795 and moved into 20 Grafton Street (just a stone’s throw from the gallery) where he again flourished. Patrons paid 25 guineas for a miniature which is a similar amount to that paid to rent a London town house for a year.

A Young Girl, possibly Miss E. Lambert, wearing a décolleté white dress with thin gold waistband, her hair worn short by John Smart.  Watercolour, gold metal frame, the reverse with central aperture glazed to reveal brown plaited hair, red leather travelling case. Signed with initials and dated ‘J.S/1804’. Oval, 80mm (3 ⅛ in.) high.  © Philip Mould & Company.

A Young Girl, possibly Miss E. Lambert, wearing a décolleté white dress with thin gold waistband, her hair worn short by John Smart.
Watercolour, gold metal frame, the reverse with central aperture glazed to reveal brown plaited hair, red leather travelling case. Signed with initials and dated ‘J.S/1804’. Oval, 80mm (3 ⅛ in.) high.
© Philip Mould & Company.

The collection comprises of forty-five works and has been accrued over a period of nearly three decades by a European collector who loves the skill and precision of Smart’s painting. It is the first time that the collection has been publicly exhibited.

A Lady, identified as ‘Miss Byron’ by John Smart.  Watercolour, diamond-edged gold frame, inscribed on the reverse ‘Portrait of/Miss Byron/by John Smart/signed J.S.1770’ in shagreen travelling case, oval,38mm(1.in.) high. ©PhilipMould&Company.

A Lady, identified as ‘Miss Byron’ by John Smart.
Watercolour, diamond-edged gold frame, inscribed on the reverse ‘Portrait of/Miss Byron/by John Smart/signed J.S.1770’ in shagreen travelling case, oval,38mm(1.in.) high.
©PhilipMould&Company.

A rare opportunity to admire and to acquire a work by this man of whom Philip Mould says “Smart’s peers were Gainsborough and Reynolds and although his works are diminutive in size, in his own medium he was their artistic equal. This is the chance we have been waiting for to give this often eclipsed virtuoso the stage he magnificently deserves. This body of work spans his career, two continents, and incorporates the full range of Smart’s artistry. As a feat of collecting from the late 1980s through to the mid 2000s it is remarkable. The opportunity to do the same with Smart’s equals on the scale of life such as Gainsborough, Lawrence or Reynolds passed long ago.”

John Dalrymple, 6th Earl of Stair (1749-1821) by John Smart.  Watercolour and pencil on paper. Inscribed on reverse in ink: ‘Lord Dalrymple’, and in a later hand: ‘Viscount Earl/of Stair’. Gilded wood frame, Rectangular, 60 x 50mm (2 ⅜ x 2 in.)  © Philip Mould & Company.

John Dalrymple, 6th Earl of Stair (1749-1821) by John Smart.
Watercolour and pencil on paper. Inscribed on reverse in ink: ‘Lord Dalrymple’, and in a later hand: ‘Viscount Earl/of Stair’. Gilded wood frame, Rectangular, 60 x 50mm (2 ⅜ x 2 in.)
© Philip Mould & Company.

http://www.philipmould.com

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