Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Black and white chalk on buff coloured paper
  • 8 ⅛ × 5 ⅞ inches · 205 × 150 mm
  • Drawn c. 1710

Collections

  • Major A. R. Tavener, to 2017

This portrait is proposed as the work of Swedish miniaturist Charles Boit, none of whose drawings are currently known. Among the sixteen drawings that J Douglas Stewart established as by Dahl, only four were of female sitters.[1]

attempting a recognisably Dahl-like serenity and effects, especially in the sweep of hair; however, it is technically distinct from Dahl's oeuvre. If this is not by Dahl himself, it is surely by a miniature painter whose habits of drawing were shaped by Dahl's influence, for our artist has enhanced and simplified the sitter's features and head consistent with the demands of miniature painting, rather than for the more nuanced large-scale form of portraiture on canvas. This could be a life study that Boit made preparatory to painting a miniature portrait in watercolours. There are many points of comparison with examples of Boit's work such as a portrait of Lady Anne Churchill at the Victoria and Albert Museum including the modelling of the chin and neck; the lighting of the nose; the tightly drawn lips, with an area of shade beneath them and then a dot of light beneath that on the chin; the recessed ear; the shaping of the brow and eye brows; and the heavy and strongly-lit eye lids.

References

  1. J. Douglas Stewart, 'Some Portrait Drawings by Michael Dahl and Sir James Thornhill', Master Drawings, Spring 1973, vol 11 no 1, pp.34-45, 86-102. The female sitters are reproduced as pls 27, 29, 34 and 42.