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An Unknown noble Lady, possibly Isobel Innes, the wife of the artist


Artist: John Alexander

She wears a low cut white dress, red shawl and blue veil
signed on the obverse, Alex: pinx 1733, oil on copper, set in gilt-metal mount.

John Alexander, son of an Aberdeen doctor, was the great-grandson of George Jamesone, the most famous Scottish painter of the seventeenth century. After some time in London, Alexander travelled to Italy in 1711 where he studied under Giuseppe Chiari and received commissions from the Stuart court in exile. When he returned to Scotland in 1720 he worked for the Duke of Gordon, a Catholic and a staunch Jacobite, and produced his most ambitious work, a ceiling painting for Gordon Castle. Most of his clients were from the north-east of Scotland and many were Jacobites. He took up arms for Prince Charles in the 1745 Rising and became a fugitive after Culloden but was back in Edinburgh working openly by 1748

Signed British oil miniatures are very rare. Alexander painted very few miniatures, but one self portrait, dated 1711, is known in the Scottish National portrait Gallery. There is no documentary evidence to support who the sitter is, but knowing that one of the main functions for having your miniature taken was to create a 'token of affection', it could be argued that the sitter is John Alexander's wife, Isobel Innes, whom he married May 1723. The date of 1733 would suggest that the miniature was created to celebrate 10 years of marriage.
More Information
Year                 1733.
Medium                 Oil on copper,
Signed                 signed on the obverse, Alex: pinx
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