Belle Of The Ball

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A beautiful Victorian genre scene featuring a demure young lady in a white ball gown being glanced at by a patient admirer.

19th century balls were a complex affair that required a set of rules to ensure that every guest conducted themselves in an appropriate manner. For example, a young man could ask any willing female to dance with him, whereas a gentleman would have to wait until he was recognised. 

In this scene, we can see that the gentleman is waiting in the wings for the belle of the ball to catch his eye. Maybe she did or perhaps she was already betrothed to another...

The painting is quite a mystery as on the verso it's signed H. Weigall, which could plausibly refer to Henry Weigall Jnr (1829-1925), the listed British portrait artist. Henry was the son of Henry Weigall Snr (1798-1882), a well-known British sculptor, and painted many famous figures of his time including Prime Minister Disraeli.

Oil on canvas
Size including frame
19⅔” x 15⅓” / 50cm x 39.5cm
Year of creation
c. 1860 - c. 1900
Generally quite good. There's some craquelure as you would expect. Also, there could be some evidence of overpainting, which may have been part of a restoration.