George Engleheart (British, 1750/52-1829)
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
George Engleheart (British, 1750/52-1829)

Details
George Engleheart (British, 1750/52-1829)
Melicent Dillman Engleheart (1775-1796), niece of the artist, in white dress, blue hat, a kitten in her lap
Inscribed on the backing card by John Cox Dillman Engleheart (1784-1862), the sitter's brother, 'For my beloved / Melicent / JCDE / August 6. 1856' and 'For Mrs Gardner / my beloved / Millicent' in another hand, possibly that of Lt. Col. Evelyn L. Engleheart.
On ivory
Oval, 88 mm. high, in gilt-metal frame, the reverse with blue glass and elaborate lock of hair
Provenance
According to the inscription on the reverse of the original frame, written by Lt. Col. Evelyn L. Engleheart, great-nephew of the sitter:
Lucy Dillman Gardner, née Engleheart (b. 1779), the sitter's sister.
On her death, her brother John Cox Dillman Engleheart (1784-1862) until 1856.
His daughter Millicent Engleheart (1815-1897).
Her brother, Sir J. Gardner Dillman Engleheart, K.C.B. (1823-1923), in 1902 and 1904.
His son, Lt. Col. Evelyn L. Engleheart (b. 1862), in 1929.
His stepson Sir Leonard Twiston Davies (1894-1953).
His son William Anthony Twiston Davies and his wife Rosemary (1923-2000); their sale Sotheby's, London, 20 July 1981, lot 61.
Sotheby's, 16 April 2008, lot 64 (then in a different frame).
With Gould Antiques.
With Judy & Brian Harden Antiques, in 2009.
Literature
G. C. Williamson and H.L.D. Engleheart, George Engleheart 1750-1829, London, 1902, before p. 5 (illustrated in reverse).
G.C. Williamson, The History of Portrait Miniatures, London, 1904, I, p. 130, illustrated pl. LX, no. 5.
Exhibited
London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition of Miniatures by George Engleheart, J. C. D. Engleheart and Thomas Richmond, 1929, cat. no. 141, inventory no. 284 (lent by Lt. Col. Evelyn L. Engleheart).
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Lot Essay

The sitter was a daughter of John Dillman (1735-1810) and his 2nd wife Jane, née Parker (1743-1827). They had 3 other daughters: Eliza (1771-1791), Lucy (1779-1850), and Mary (1782-1845), and one son, John Cox Dillman (1784-1862) who went on to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, George Engleheart, to become a portrait miniature painter.
George Engleheart was the 3rd surviving son of Francis Engleheart (1713/14-1773), a German emigré plaster modeler and his wife Anne, née Dawney (bap. 1713 – 1780). Engleheart enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in 1769. He worked as an apprentice in the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds where he produced a number of portrait miniature copies of the master’s works. On completion of his apprenticeship he quickly established himself as a portrait miniature painter and started exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1773. From 1776 he worked at a studio in Princes Street, near Hanover Square, London and from 1783, his home and studio were No. 4 Hertford Street, Mayfair – the address often seen on Engleheart’s signed backing cards.
Engleheart’s fee book provides an insight into the breadth of his patronage, which included King George III whom he served as Miniature Painter to the King. His main competitor at that time was Richard Cosway, R.A., Miniature Painter to the Prince of Wales or, as Cosway flamboyantly put it ‘Primarius Pictor Serenissimi Walliae Principis’ whose style and technique differed greatly from Engleheart’s.
One of Engleheart’s pupils was his nephew John Cox Dillman Engleheart. He worked as his uncle's assistant in the preparation of materials, backgrounds, and making copies of the master’s portrait miniatures. In 1800 he entered the Royal Academy Schools and started exhibiting at the RA in 1800. His studio was at 88 Newman Street and he often cited this address on his signed backing cards, as his uncle had done.
In 1811 he married Mary Barker (d. 1878) of Edgbaston and in the years immediately leading up to and following the marriage, he worked in Birmingham. Following a successful career as a portrait miniature painter, his ill health forced him to retire in 1828 and convalesce abroad. He died, in England, in 1862.
Little is know about the sitter, Melicent Engleheart, possibly because she died aged only 21. George Engleheart also produced portraits of her sisters Lucy (in 1783, 1786 and 1791), Eliza and Mary. Another version of the present miniature is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue British Portrait Miniatures, Edinburgh, 1965, no. 254, fig. 63 (lent by Mrs F.H.A. Engleheart) and in C. Arturi & F.R. Phillips, George Engleheart and his Nephew John Cox Dillman Engleheart, Hampshire, 2016, illustrated in colour pp. 60 & 75. It has an inscription on the reverse indicating that it was painted in 1788, when the sitter was aged 13, however there is no record in the Engleheart sitters book for that year. There is an entry for 'Engleheart, Milly D.' for 1780; 'Engleheart, Mill D.' for 1795 and there are entries in 1787, 1790 and 1800 for 'Engleheart, M.D.', which could be for Melicent or her sister Mary.
Other family members mentioned in Engleheart's list of sitters include Mr. F. Engleheart (1776); Mrs Engleheart (1782, 1803 and 1807); Mrs George & Emma Engleheart (1788 and 1789); 'Engleheart (my son George)'; 'Engleheart (my son Nathaniel)'; Mr. D and Mrs J.D. Engleheart are all listed separately for 1791; Mr. J.C.D.C. Engleheart for 1796; Mr. G. and Mr. J.D. Engleheart are listed separately for 1797; Mrs D.; Emma and Nathaniel Engleheart are all listed separately for 1798; Nathaniel, Emma and Mrs Engleheart are listed separately for 1803; Henry and Emma Engleheart are listed separately for 1805; Nathaniel and Emma Engleheart are listed separately for 1806; Mrs Engleheart for 1807; N.B. Engleheart for 1809 and Emma Engleheart for 1810.
Self-portraits of the artist are recorded for the years 1780, 1793, 1802, 1803 and 1807.
The present miniature will be sold together with its original frame which contains on the reverse inscriptions by previous owner Lt. Col. Evelyn L. Engleheart.

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