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18th Century English Portrait of a Lady with a Spaniel by John Vanderbank (1694-1739)


"18th Century English Portrait of a Lady with a Spaniel by John Vanderbank (1694-1739)"
Portrait of a young woman, three-quarter length, wearing an ivory silk dress, bejeweled bodice, beaded hair, standing on a classic country estate terrace, her hand outstretched at the point to pat the head of her spaniel sitting next to her on a red velvet cushion on a plinth. Signed 'Vanderbank Fecit'. Circa 1735. Stencil mark on the frame on the reverse. Oil on canvas in a carved wood and gesso frame.

This charming composition continues the tradition of celebrating beloved canine companions by presenting them in portraits alongside their owners. From the 17th century the popularity of the spaniel in England had grown among the wealthy and upper classes, and in art the companion dog was often used to symbolize traits of loyalty and fidelity in marriage. . As the sitter is a young woman dressed in white, with rings on her fingers, it could be a portrait to celebrate her engagement or marriage.

John Vanderbank (1694-1739) was born in London, the eldest son of John Vanderbank Senior, owner of the Soho Tapestry Manufactory. He was one of the first students of Godfrey Kneller's academy, later taken over by Sir James Thornhill. In 1720 Vanderbank opened his own academy with Louis Chéron, holding life lessons with male and female models, but in 1724 fled to France to avoid debtors' prison. George Vertue (Vertue, notebooks, 3.98) noted that "he lived very extravagantly, keeping a horse-drawn cart a mistress to drink, and a country house a goal for her." In Vertue's opinion, (Vertue, notebooks, 5.98) after Kneller's death, Vanderbank might have been the leading portrait painter of his day if he had not lived so extravagantly. Vanderbank's portraits are notable for his rich use of color, particularly in flesh tones.
His sitters included Sir Isaac Newton (1725, RSA and Trinity College, Cambridge) and Queen Charlotte (1736, Goodwood House, Sussex) and he was also commissioned to illistrate 'Don Quixote' by editors J and R Tonson in the Spanish original which appeared in 1738 with sixty-eight plates after Vanderbank. Vanderbank died in London in December 1739, aged forty-five.

Literature: Ellis Waterhouse, 'Painting in Britain 1530-1790', 1957
Price : $18,000
Artist : John Vanderbank (1694-1739)
Period: 18th century
Style: Georgian
Condition : Good, ready to hang condition

Material : Oil on canvas
Width : 101cm (40in)
Height : 126cm (50in)

Reference : 903
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