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An artist believed to be a self portrait by John Howes (fl 1770-1793).

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Standing three quarter length in front of a classical column, holding an artist's paint palette and brushes, wearing fashionable Van Dyck costume of slashed black doublet and white lace collar and red cloak
Signed with initial JH and dated 1774

The composition and stance in this enamel is taken from Van Dyck's portrait of Pontius the engraver.

It is believed that this portrait in enamel is a self portrait by John Howes who first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1772 and continued for several years thereafter. On several occasions he exhibited enamels of classical subject such as 'The Death of Lucretia' and 'Cleopatra sailing down the Cyndus'. His interest in the classics is evident on his trade card, an image of which is in the British Museum, the card describes himself as 'Portrait and Enamel Painter, at Number 13 Fleet Street'. The card depicts two ladies wearing classical robes, one of whom holds an artist's palette and brushes much in the same manner as shown in this current enamel.

Howes usually signed with a cursive JH, which differs from the capital JH found on this portrait. It is not unusual for an artist to experiment with his signature - George Engleheart for instance began signing his miniatures with capital Roman initials GE and moved onto a cursive single E and by the end of his career he often signed in full on the reverse.
More Information
Year                 1774.
Medium                 Enamel on copper,
Signed                 signed with initial JH and dated
Condition                 Minor restoration in the background at the border (around 11 o'clock)
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