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Two brothers in sailor suits


Signed on the reverse Painted by/ Herbert S Percy/ 29 Avenue Road/ Hammersmith/1902

These are charming examples of photominiatures (or overpainted photographs). With the advance in photographic technology most photographic studios employed an artist to hand paint over the image which had been, in this case printed onto ivorine.

A scraper has been used on the hair to soften the lines of the photograph. For a full in depth study on the art of photominiatures, see Arturi Phillips Dictionary of Miniature Painters, 1870-1970. p. 279-285.

Percy was the youngest son of the popular Victorian landscape painter Sidney Richard Percy and Emily Fairlam, his father being a member of the Williams family of painters. He married Maud Thompson, who was the sister of the well-known Shakespearean actress Constance Crawley. His sister Amy Dora Percy became a novelist under the pen name of Mrs. Fred Reynolds.

Percy entered the Royal Academy of Art Schools in December 1881 at the age of 18, and spent two three-year terms there, earning two silver medals. Although he was a competent landscape artist, he considered himself primarily a portrait and miniature painter, as these brought in the large commissions, and his portraits hang in the homes of many prominent English families. He also painted some impressionist pieces, worked as a picture restorer, and prepared engravings, often from his own line drawings, for books and magazines. He was a close friend of the writer G.K. Chesterton, and some of Chesterton's books are illustrated with Percy's engravings.[2]

He exhibited one painting at the Royal Academy and eight works with the Society of British Artists. He was also a frequent exhibitor with the Royal Society of Painters in Oil and Watercolours. His portrait of Captain James Wood hangs in the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
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