19th century English School, Sketch of Two Women

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Sketch of Two Women
? c. early 19th century
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 41.5 cm, Overall width: 36 cm
19th century English School
Catalogue Number


This oil sketch may perhaps have been part of a larger composition. Its artist is unknown but the composition, painted possibly in the early nineteenth century, reveals the influence of a number of artists of an earlier generation. The mannered feline features of the girl to the right, with the cupid’s-bow lips and pointed chin, are reminiscent of the ‘fancy pictures’ of Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), notably Muscipula. The girl to the left, in the broad-brimmed hat, recalls the rather attenuated society ladies painted by the fashionable portraitist Daniel Gardner (1750–1805), while the intimate embrace of the figures provides an air of eroticism found in the female compositions of Henry Fuseli (1741–1825) and Richard Cosway (1742–1821). Such combination of characteristics found in works by these eighteenth-century artists suggests that the present work is a pastiche made at a later date. According to a manuscript catalogue compiled by Stamford Raffles Flint in 1882 the painting formerly hung at Beechwood, the home of Richard Rosdew (1758–1837), who had inherited the collection of Mudge family paintings by Reynolds and Northcote.1

by Martin Postle


  1. Stamford Raffles Flint, ‘Catalogue of pictures’, collection of the Reverend Charles Raffles Flint at Nansawsan House, Ladock, Cornwall, MS, 1882, Trewithen.


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