19th-Century Portrait Of A Man, For Nell

19th-Century Portrait Of A Man, For Nell

A worn late 19th-century portrait of a young man with a moustache and long hair.

On the reverse, an inscription reads ‘For Nell’, which conjures up some interesting thoughts. Was this gentleman in love with Nell and was it reciprocal? Did she ask for a portrait or did he send it to her as a surprise?

We purchased the painting from a private seller in Rome but the canvas originated in England, so could it have been a keepsake after a fleeting Italian romance?

It’s a shame that these stories have been lost over time but I’m sure you have your own thoughts on its history.

Oil on canvas
8” x 10” / 20cm x 25cm
Year of creation
c. 1885
Italy (English canvas)
Very tatty with various losses and abrasions.