19th-Century Portrait Of Alfred Little Couch RN

19th-Century Portrait Of Alfred Little Couch RN

A charming 19th-century portrait of Alfred Little Couch RN (1851-1906).

It’s always exciting when you have the name of a sitter depicted in a portrait as it enables you to delve into the ancestry records in search of information.

We discovered a great deal about Alfred including the fact that his father, David Little Couch (1811-1894), was a portrait painter. With this in mind, it seems plausible that his father produced this image of him - or perhaps someone within his circle.

Alfred spent his youth in East Stonehouse, Devonshire and later lived in Bedminster, Bristol. He served for many years in the Royal Navy including aboard Ariadne, Encounter, Royal Adelaide, Castor, and Lion. In 1906, at the age of 60, he was transferred to HMS Daedalus, which was a training ship at the time. His records explain:

“To be transferred to ‘Daedalus’ on 13 April next, when a vacancy will occur in that ship. ‘Daedalus’ should (illegible) off before Feb 1911, the date on which Couch’s engagement expires, the question of his disposal should then be raised.”

Couch passed away on the 26th of April 1906 at his home in Clifton, Bristol.

The portrait is housed within a period frame.

Medium: Pastel on paper
Overall size: 14½” x 16½” / 37cm x 42cm
Year of creation: c. 1865
Provenance: England
Condition: A minor loss towards the bottom left but otherwise fine. Frame with some age-related wear. Glazed.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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