Watercolor on ivory in a gilt metal frame with plaited brown hair in glazed reserve on back
Framed: 8.6 x 7 cm (3 3/8 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 8 x 6.3 cm (3 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.)
The Edward B. Greene Collection 1942.1140
Engleheart also painted miniatures of Baring's wife and elder sons whose names are listed in the artists fee book; he was charging from 12 to 15 guineas for a miniature painting.
Though this portrait has had the title “Portrait of a Man” since 1942 when it entered the museum’s collection, the
sitter was identified by previous owners, including Leo Schidlof and Edward Greene, as a member of the famous Baring banking family, of whom G. C. Williamson mentions several members in his biography of George Engleheart.
Thomas Baring (1772–1848) was not elevated to the baronetcy until 1810. Thomas was a member of Parliament,
partner in the firm Baring Brothers & Co. from 1804, and chairman of the London and Southwestern Railroad from 1832 to 1833. Baring Brothers & Co. brokered the $15 million Louisiana Purchase in 1802, which doubled the size of the United States and financially refueled Napoleon’s war effort.
Thomas wears a dark blue coat with brass buttons, white waistcoat with a high white collar, bow, and frill down the front, all of which was standard attire for British gentlemen at the turn of the century. His hair is worn à l’antique (hair cut short and worn in curls, especially around the forehead), a style sported by men after the turn of the century that evokes the coiffures of statesmen of ancient Rome. The back of the frame contains plaited brown hair. There is a small area of pigment loss located at the lower right edge of the sitter’s coat.
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