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Very fine Georgian reverse painting miniature of a naval officer, on convex glass within a gilt, verre églomisé border. Sitting facing sinister, the officer wears a powdered pigtail, epaulettes, black stock and the white frill of a chemise at his neck. Each of his buttons is finely painted with an anchor, affirming his identity as a Naval officer. The miniature is set over a plaster plate, upon which a silhouette of the minutely detailed painting can be seen. It is set in a papier maché frame with a pearwood oval mount. Although unsigned, from comparison with the work, mounts and frames from miniatures that bear the inscription ‘Lea - Portsmouth’ (c1768 - 1828), it is undoubtedly by the same artist.
English, circa 1790 - 1810
The miniaturist, Lea, has been identified by the few extant miniature silhouettes/paintings that bear an inscription ‘By Lea - Portsmouth’. Occasionally there is also an inscribed date. An example can be seen in the M.A.H. Christie Collection of an unknown Naval gentleman and shows the inscription to the rear. See McKechnie, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760 - 1860 (Section 6) and Emma Rutherford, Silhouette - The Art of the Shadow (p159)