Early 19th-Century English School

Portrait Of Sarah Gibson

Early 19th-Century English School

Portrait Of Sarah Gibson

This beautiful little oil painting depicts a young Sarah Gibson née Mills (1813-1877) wearing a fine silver dress with fashionable gigot sleeves.

Note how the material seems to shimmer - perhaps it’s satin. Her demure expression carries forth across the decades. She had the world at her feet.

Born in Helion Bumpstead, Essex, Sarah was the third daughter of Reverend Thomas Mills (1789-1832) of Coval Hall, Chelmsford and Hester Parris (1789-1871). Her parents provided her with a comfortable upbringing and she had seven siblings. In 1834, she married Reverend Henry Gibson (1809-1886) of Fyfield, Essex and moved into the Rectory. By 1861, the pair had nine children - six girls and three boys. The census of that year records that her son, Robert, was studying medicine. It also refers to four Rectory staff.

Sarah passed away in 1877 from typhoid leaving her husband as a widower. It’s believed that the pair had 15 children in total. Henry continued to work at the church until his own death in 1886. A local newspaper reported that he had taken a keen interest in the temperance movement and campaigned for public houses to be closed on Sundays.

The portrait was produced in around 1830 when she was 17 and bears an inscription on the reverse.

Housed within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on panel
Overall size: 8” x 9” / 20cm x 23cm
Year of creation: c. 1830
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.

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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