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A portrait of a young Lady, possibly the artist's wife Ellen Dison (1805-1899)


Artist: Henry Collen

Wearing a fine white wedding attire with double lace collar, a large pink rose at her corsage, her hair dressed in ringlets
Signed on the reverse and inscribed 1853/ Painted by Henry Collen/ (miniature Painter to Her Majesty/ and HRH the Duchess of Kent)? from a former copy from a drawing/ by John Hayter/ 37 Mortimer Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Set in the original red leather rectangular case

Sir George Hayter, a portraitist, taught Henry Collen to paint at the Royal Academy, the Hayter family had been, and remained close personal friends of the Collen family. John Hayter whose drawing Collen copied was an English portrait painter. He was the second son of the miniaturist Charles Hayter and brother of Sir George Hayter, also a portraitist.

Henry married, aged 29, Ellen Dison, the latter states that she met Henry at John Hayter's house. The word 'former' on the reverse of the miniature suggests that this miniature was taken from a drawing taken earlier. One speculates therefore, whether the sitter may not indeed by Ellen, Collen's wife, shown wearing her wedding dress.

In the eighteen-thirties, Henry Collen was personally acquainted with young Princess Victoria, being her drawing teacher and her miniature portrait painter ... For her fourteenth birthday on 24 May 1833 Victoria received a 'little painting for my album' from Collen, and on at least two occasions she sat for her portrait by him.

Henry Collen worked in the company of many respected artists in mid-19th century London, as well as important scientists of his day. He collaborated in the early 1840s with the famous astronomer, John Frederick William Herschel. He may have associated with the artist Thomas Sully and his wife. Besides being close to the Hayter family, who were already established artists, Henry and Ellen were also close friends of Edwin Landseer,
More Information
Year                 1853
Literature                 The Comerford Collection: Portrait Miniatures, (Dublin, privately published, 2009) pp 11, 62 (# 280).
Exhibition                 Comerford Collection at the Irish Architectural Archives in Dublin, in 2009
Condition                 Old Restoration to the left hand border
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