William Beechey (Circle), Portrait Of A Lady

William Beechey (Circle), Portrait Of A Lady

This beautiful early 19th-century portrait of a lady depicts her resting within a tranquil evening landscape. Her outfit is inspired by antiquity, her expression entirely natural.

In 1800, the rules pertaining to fashion radically shifted with the emphasis placed upon an idealised notion of Ancient Greece and Rome. Women relaxed in lightweight muslin, high-waisted elegant silhouettes, and hairstyles lacking ceremony. They drifted through the landscape with a beguiling beauty lacking ornamentation.

This preference for simplicity was in part inspired by the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum but also due to a desire to downplay wealth following the French revolution.

Here, we see a lady designed into her environment. The tangled twists of foliage echo her curls, while the distant burn of clouds emphasises the lips and cheeks.

Without concern, she’s content, permanent, at home.

The portrait feels akin to the works of William Beechey, and includes several of his hallmarks. The face is particularly alluring, so perhaps there are multiple hands involved. An intriguing piece. She steals the room.

Held in a gilt frame.

Learn more about William Beechey in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 29” x 34½” / 74cm x 88cm
Year of creation: c. 1800
Condition: Craquelure but the paint is stable. Canvas relined. Frame with some wear.

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