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Arthur Devis (1712-1787)
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Arthur Devis (1712-1787)

Portrait of a gentleman, small full-length, in a blue coat and breaches, seated at a table in an interior with two female portraits resting on a chair and along the dado behind

Details
Arthur Devis (1712-1787)
Portrait of a gentleman, small full-length, in a blue coat and breaches, seated at a table in an interior with two female portraits resting on a chair and along the dado behind
Oil on canvas
36¼ x 28 in. (92 x 71.1 cm.)
in a contemporary Maratta frame
Provenance
Cecil Fane de Salis, C.B., D.L., Holly Cross House, Henley-on-Thames; Christie's, London, 11 March 1932, lot 98 (100 guineas to Heather).
A. John Hugh Smith.
With Thomas Agnews and Sons Ltd., London, 1938.
Literature
E.G. D'Oench, The Conversation Piece: Arthur Devis & His Contemporaries, New Haven, 1980, p.91, fig.17.
Exhibited
London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1932.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Born in Preston, Lancashire, Arthur Devis studied under the sporting and topographical artist Peter Tillemans (1684-1734). By 1742 he was described in the Preston guild as 'of London, Painter', and he steadily developed a reputation as a meticulously accomplished portraitist in the conversation piece genre.

The present work shows the sitter in a particularly sparse interior, and is unusual in its inclusion of two portraits, probably of the same woman, from the front and in profile, unframed and unhung, perched informally on a chair and along the dado rail behind. The gentleman, seated at a small table, his left hand resting on a book, contemplates the portraits, which seem likely to commemorate either his wife or possibly a daughter. It is possible that the sitter is a member of the Bissé family, of whom several portraits from the period descended to Cecil Fane de Salis of Henley-on-Thames, and were sold alongside the present work at Christie's on 11 March 1932, including a Highmore portrait of Mrs Bissé, and two Romneys of Thomas Bissé and his wife. Thomas Challoner Bissé (1788-1862), of Portnall Park, Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the 4th Royal Regiment of Surrey Local Militia, married in January 1859 Henrietta Maria, daughter of Jerome, Count de Salis. Thomas died without issue in 1862, leaving Portnall Park to his wife's brother, the Rev. Henry Jerome Augustine Fane de Salis.

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