Feb 19, 2013
Feb 7, 2005
Oct 7, 2009
May 6, 2011
Feb 19, 2013
Feb 19, 2013

Portrait of a Man

Portrait of a Man

c. 1775

John I Smart

(British, 1741-1811)

Gray, red, and purple wash and graphite on laid paper

Support: Beige(1) laid paper, partially discolored to beige-brown, laid down on light brown wove paper

Sheet: 5.6 x 4.9 cm (2 3/16 x 1 15/16 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1997.81

Location

Did you know?

Edward B. Greene gave his renowned collection of portrait miniatures to the Cleveland Museum of Art primarily during the 1940s, while drawings such as this came only later, donated by his daughter.

Description

G. C. Williamson was the first to suggest that Smart’s sketches were well known and that they were preparatory studies for the painted miniatures. Williamson listed the names of sitters from the sketches known to him at the time, and they included Mr. Batson (the identification formerly given to the sitter in this portrait). His head and shoulders face left. He has blue-green eyes and dark eyebrows and wears his powdered hair en queue. His coat has a narrow collar, under which he dons a high collar and frilled vest. A band of black around his neck hints at perhaps another collar, a waistcoat, or a ribbon from which an undesignated ornament hangs. The color of his attire is not suggested, and the background is unpainted. The finished ivory miniature for which this drawing was presumably a preparatory sketch has not yet been discovered. The sitter has been known as Mr. Batson at least since it was so catalogued in the 1928 Smirke sale. This appellation is based on a later inscription in graphite on the verso of the paper backing. When the paper backing was removed from the back of the drawing in 2011, a faint, partly legible inscription was discovered: “. . . Bracelet / . . . pring to . . . / cloth cape . . . / . . .”

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