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Joseph Clover
Early 19th Century English Oil Portrait Painting of a Gentleman and a Young Boy.

circa 1800

Unavailable
$12,428.06Asking Price

About

This double portrait of a father and son attributed to Joseph Clover ( 1779-1853) is a rare and beautiful example of British portraiture of the turn of the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. Dating to around 1800, its rarity lies in the extremely intimate format, devoid of the usual accessories and formalised setting so often found in portraiture of the period. Instead it shows both figures in bust length side by side set against a plain black background. Their faces are lit with a bright light that allows their figures to possess an immediate presence within the pictorial space. The older gentleman sports a fashionable stock and dark frock coat. In comparison, the young blonde plump boy sports a wine red velvet jacked adorned with a multitude of gilded buttons. As was fashionable in this period, the youth’s costume ends with the flourish of a bright white collar that evokes the collars so often found in the costume of paintings by the seventeenth century painter Van Dyck. Double portraits in this format are quite rare. From their proportions, it seems that it was always the artist’s intention to present the pair in this manner, rather that the portrait having been cut down at some later period. Such a curious composition may have been at the request of the portrait’s patron, who may have wanted to be painted in contrast to and opposite his young healthy son and heir. Such a format compels the viewer to make a direct comparison between the two, between young and old. Such modest yet simple compositional effects calls to mind the passing of time and all worldly things, a theme popular in painting and art stretching back centuries. The manner in which the elder gentlemen’s gaze is diverted from the painter, in comparison to the outward looking and almost mischievous eyes of the young boy, is remarkably playful. It is likely also that these two figures were completed during separate sittings, rather than having sat together at the same time. Such an arrangement might have suited both the sitter and artist, and helped to keep down the complexity of work and ultimately the costs of such a commission. Joseph Clover (1779 - 1853) Born in 1779 in the small Norfolk town of Aylsham, Clover was an English portrait painter and a member of the Norwich School of painters. He began his career as an engraver but was inspired to turn to portrait painting when a portraitist painted his uncle. He lived in both Norwich and London and in 1806 he met the poet Richard Cumberland, who invited him to his house at Ramsgate and commissioned him to painted portraits. He repeated these visits during the summer months for fourteen years. In London he was a prominent member of the Swedenborg Society serving on its Committee for several years and appointed as one of the trustees of the Society's property in 1834.Among Clover's patrons were the Marquis of Stafford, Lord T. Levison Gower, and the Countess de Grey. It is clear that the portrait was undertaken by a confident painter. This is a fine example of his work which is specifically evident in the tight, refined yet painterly brushstrokes in the sitters The thick impasto in the boy’s face and collar, which lend the picture such character, is enjoyable to admire close up. The paintings unusual composition calls to mind the portrait of the artist with his brothers Thomas Clover and John Wright Clover. The artist occasionally worked in these unusual formats including his most extreme example the Harveys and the Herrings (of Norwich/Norfolk) which he painted in 1820. Research into the provenance of the painting, descending from the Hippisley Cox family of Gournay Court, has presented a possible identification for the pair. Due to the intimate family nature of the portrait, it is more likely that it descended through the family rather than being purchased at a later date. Sir John Coxe Hippisley (1746-1825) and his son Sir John Stuart Coxe Hippisley (1790-1867), earlier descendants of the Sir Edward, seem to fit the ages and dates of the portrait. Sir John senior had an illustrious career in the East India Company and then in the diplomatic service particularly serving in the Vatican City. Most famously, he successfully negotiated the marriage of the Duke of Württemberg to Princess Charlotte, a deed that earned him a baronet in 1796. His portrait, completed during his time serving as a diplomat to the Papacy in Rome, was sold at the Dorotheum, Vienna, 9 April 2014, lot. 873. The likeness to the current portrait is compelling, but not conclusive. No portrait of his son John Stuart (b.1790), who was a youth around the date of the present painting, seems to have survived. Higher resolution images upon request. Worldwide shipping available Provenance: Colonel Sir Edward Geoffrey Hippisley-Cox (1884 – 1954) of Gournay Court, Somerset; By whose executors sold 1954; Purchased by the previous owner. Canvas: 19.5” x 24” / 49.5cm x 61cm. Framed: 26” x 30” / 66cm x 24cm. Price: £8750

Details

  • Creator
    Joseph Clover
  • Creation Year
    circa 1800
  • Dimensions
    Height: 26 in. (66.04 cm)Width: 30 in. (76.2 cm)Depth: 4 in. (10.16 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    London/Yorkshire, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU58935907402

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: London/Yorkshire, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 2 days of delivery.

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