Circa 1759 England

Henry Pickering, Portrait of a Gentleman


1 in stock

Height 36 3/4 inches (93.5 cm)
Width 31 1/2 inches (80 cm)
Depth 2 1/2 inches (6 cm)

Henry Pickering, Portrait of a Gentleman

Oil on canvas; signed and dated 1759; held in a giltwood period frame

Provenance: Lenygon & Morant Ltd. c.1900; Knoedler, October 1912 (Stock No.5452).

Henry Pickering was a fashionable and gifted portrait artist working in the style of the great Thomas Hudson. He travelled to Italy to learn from the old masters and seems to have returned to England, and London, by 1740. By the 1750s he seems to have worked as an itinerant portrait painter travelling largely around Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales eventually settling in Manchester in 1759 when he painted this portrait.

He was a highly successful artist and perhaps became so by not competing in the confines of the London art world. The gentry and successful middle classes of the North no doubt appreciated not needing to make the arduous journey South to have their “likeness taken” with Manchester at the heart of the progressing Industrial Revolution.

The sitter in this portrait has been depicted by Pickering as distracted, whilst turning the pages of a book; on closer inspection the volume being identifiable as that of a history of the notable county estates and the page showing depicting an engraved image of one such country house, possibly in Lancashire. This might be an indication as to the background of the sitter, though the imagery is sufficiently obscure to prevent obvious identification. Either way the portrait clearly depicts a handsome, extremely well dressed, young gentleman depicted in the height of fashion for the period. Pickering has painted in detail elements of his clothes, the embroidered coat and buttons being perhaps the most clear. The paint is fresh and the colours vibrant, the overall image being at once charming and striking.

Examples of his work are held in many national museums and galleries in England and Wales.

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