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A distinguished looking Gentleman


Wearing a blue coat with gold buttons, white waistcoat and frilled cravat, his powdered hair en queue
set in the original gold frame with bright cut reverse

Charles Shirreff (sometimes referred to as Sherriff) was born in Leith, the northern district of Edinburgh, in 1750 to a wealthy businessman, Alexander Shirreff and his wife. He moved to London in 1768, receiving an education from Thomas Branwood and having mastered sign language due to hearing disabilities, joined the Royal Academy Schools on 9th August 1769.

Despite his relative anonymity, Shirreff swiftly proved his artistic worth, exhibiting oil paintings, pastels and pencil drawings at the Academy in 1771 and at the Free Society from 1770 until 1773. In 1785 Mrs. Siddons wrote that he was more successful in her portrait painter than any other miniature painter that she had sat to.

Like many of his contemporary artists, namely John Smart, Diana Hill, George Place, and John Jukes to name but a few, he sought permission to travel and work in India which he was granted in 1795. He remained in India until 1809 when he returned to Bath.
More Information
Year                 Circa 1770
Medium                 Watercolour on ivory
Literature                 The Comerford Collection: Portrait Miniatures, (Dublin, privately published, 2009) pp 10, 46 (#185).
Exhibition                 Comerford Collection at the Irish Architectural Archives in Dublin, in 2009
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