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Primitive portrait of a girl with posy, wearing a blue ribboned and tiered dress with matching shoes and straw hat and holding a posy of flowers, seated in a pastoral landscape. Now in an ebonised frame with gilt slip.
English, indistinctly signed and dated 1850.
Adopting the ‘naïve’ traits of the primitive genre with the simplistic and somewhat disproportionate rendering of form, the artist nonetheless demonstrates considerable competence and skill in his use of light and detail in this charming portrait. Not only does the play of light upon the subject’s face bring her character instantly to life, but it also gives shape and fullness to her limbs and movement to the folds of her dress, sleek softness to her ringlets and texture to her straw hat. As with the lace around her neck, the posy and loose flowers in her lap, which include pansies, roses and forget-me-nots, are painted with an articulate precision that are worthy of being a ‘still life’ in their own right. Set against the block of un-detailed colour that is the bodice of the dress, the clarity and detail of the blooms further establish the versatility and dexterity of the artist.
Set in a stylised landscape with a waterfall and distant hills, the darkness and density of the tree behind her and the warmth and colour of the sunset beyond only act to accentuate the liveliness and brightness of the subject and to give it a luminous quality.