A superb site for engravings, a rare painter, and Georgian manners.

I’ve just been looking up an engraving of Holbein’s Portrait of Thomas Cromwell (Frick Collection) and it led me to this site. bpi1700.org.uk, ‘British Printed Images up to 1700 is a searchable database of early engravings.

This portrait by John Smith is an extraordinary thing, Sir Philip Sydenham Bt by John Smith after D. de Haese.

philipsydenham

(c) National Portrait Gallery

I have never heard of De Haese before; he isn’t listed in Waterhouse, and his online footprint is limited to three versions of this print in the NPG. Perhaps he’s better represented in the NPG archive, and back home in Holland. I wonder how long he was in England, and how much more of his work is out there attributed to other painters. Sir Philip Sydenham looks a bit like Thomas Murray, but with a dash of Knellerish arrogance and some Baroque swing. It ought to be possible to identify some more examples.

Sir Francis Leicester by Murray shows the same ingredients put together with more complaisance.

0f80b2121580139066c1f60918201f5d-1

The Flea Chic Blogspot, where I found the Murray, notes the cookie-cutter sameness of these gentlemanly portraits: ‘Bring in the aristocrat, stand him in front of a pre-painted screen, plop on a wig, place hand on hip, boom, you’re ready to go.’

But painters didn’t make up these poses. This engraving by LP Boitard, after Bartholomew Dandridge is one of  a set of twelve examples of good deportment from Francois Nivelon’s Rudiments of Genteel Behaviour 1737 (now available in a reprint).

Genteel behaviour

(c) Cornell University

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