Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834) After Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (British, 1723-1792)
Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834) After Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (British, 1723-1792)

Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834) After Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (British, 1723-1792)
Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Politician, with his right hand on papers concerning the bill for the Amendment of the East India Company
Signed and dated on the counter-enamel 'Rt. Hon.ble C.J. Fox / Heny. Bone pinx / April 1792 / Little Russell Street / Bloomsbury'
Enamel on copper
Oval, 104 mm. high, modern gilt-metal frame
Sotheby's, London, 28 April 1981, lot 229.
J. Jope Rogers, Notice of Henry Bone, R.A. and his works, Truro, 1880, p. 9.
London, Royal Academy, 1792, no. 276.
This, or one of the versions after John Opie, London, South Kensington Museum, Special Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures, 1865, no. 431 (lent by Lord Fitzhardinge).

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Lot Essay

The original painting after which the present miniature derives, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. in 1782, is in Holkham Hall, Norfolk. Also at Holkham is a painting of Fox by John Opie of 1805, of which several enamel copies by Henry Bone and Henry Pierce Bone were made.
One of the documents on the table in the present portrait represents Fox’s Bill for the amendment of the East India Company. In an undated letter ‘Monday night, St James’s Street’, in April 1784, following a number of sittings to Reynolds, Fox makes the following request ‘If it is not too late to have one of the papers upon the table in my picture docketed “A Bill for the better regulating the Affairs of the E.I. Company, ” I should be very much obliged to you’. The decision to highlight one of his biggest political failures is significant and suggests he did not want to shy away from ‘public discussion upon a measure which will always be the pride of my life’. The East India Bill was aimed at reforming the Company’s finances and administration by transferring authority from the East India Company’s directors and owners to a council of commissioners appointed by the government. The Bill was passed in the House of Commons with a comfortable majority, but it was defeated in the Lords following an intervention by King George III to stop it. Some saw the proposed reform as an attempt by the Whigs to reduce the influence of the King. This led to a political fall-out which was resolved in March 1784 when George III dissolved parliament and appointed a new Prime Minister, William Pitt.

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