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A beautiful portrait of a young lady, possibly the artist's wife


Artist: Gervase Spencer

in black lace dress with white ruff, white puff sleeves and black hat decorated with white plume, landscape and sky background
Signed with initials and dated 1749 on the obverse, set in oval toothpick box with bright-cut gold mount, the inside with blue velvet and replaced mirror
Oval, 49mm. high

The dress worn by the sitter is reminiscent of that worn by Rubens's second wife Helena Fourment (1614-1673), see image above. It is possible that the sitter in the miniature could be Spencer's wife. The date of his marriage and the name of his wife are not known, but Spencer was survived by a daughter.

Gervase Spencer was originally a gentleman's servant who taught himself miniature painting in watercolour on ivory. It is however unclear how he learned the more complicated process of enamelling.
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