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drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1987,0307.10

  • Description

    Portrait of a woman and child; whole-length to front, the mother carrying a pink scarf over her left arm and holding the hand of the child before her, a chalice on a pedestal behind and a circular frieze on the wall, a rolling landscape beyond. 1827 Watercolour, with pen and grey ink and bodycolour over graphite

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  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1827
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 414 millimetres
    • Width: 316 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed (faintly on pavement to left of child):"Adam Buck 1827"
  • Curator's comments

    Catalogue entry from exhibition catalogue 'The Intimate Portrait' (SNPG and BM 2008-9), K.Sloan and S.Lloyd, no. 147:

    Adam Buck trained as a miniature painter in Ireland before settling in London in 1795. He painted not only miniatures on ivory, but made a specialty of painting larger full-length portraits in watercolour on card, of the type represented here.The key to Buck's originality and the fashionableness of his work is provided by a contemporary who noted that he 'appears to study the antique more rigorously than any of our emerging artists and by that means he will imbibe a chastity of thinking, which may eventually lead him to the personification of apparent beauty' (A. Pasquin, p. 41, cited in Caffrey). Buck not only placed his sitters in Regency interiors, he influenced Regency taste through his close working relationship with patrons such as the Prince Regent, Duke of York, the Earls of Carlisle and Cawdor, and particularly Thomas Hope. Buck's more allegorical designs were in turn used to decorate furniture and china. His self-portrait (Yale Center for British Art) included not only vases from Sir William Hamilton's and Hope's collections, but also vases that he had purchased himself. He studied the publications that illustrated these famous collections and planned one of his own in 1811 with 100 engravings based on the paintings on Greek vases in private collections in England. The first part was published in 1811 as ten aquatinted plates but the project was never completed.

    Buck's portraits tend to be rather idealized in the faces particularly and he used a formula of a few poses with slight variations for his figures. They are all fairly stiff and doll-like, the variety being provided mainly by the settings and landscape backgrounds he provided for them. They are always dressed in the latest fashion - here a high-waisted muslin dress with short puff sleeves - their hair carefully styled and curled. But relatively few contain the classical objects and references that are found here and in his self-portrait with his family and they must have been reserved for his most important clients. The objects here have been identified by Ian Jenkins. The volute-krater has a design taken from d'Hancarville's publication of the Hamilton collection of vases (Vol. I, pl 45) where it was on a South Italian podanipter (foot-washing bowl). The relief above is an adaptation of the design on an Etruscan bronze mirror now in the BM (Bronzes 542) which was published in 1814 (for details, see Jenkins 1986, p. 452). It depicts Hercules carrying off a woman whose name is inscribed as Malache, an unknown episode from the Etruscan version of the Hercules myths. The same relief appears on an altar beside a portrait of Miss Croker of 1821 (Portland Museum). Any intended references to the portraits in the present work are no longer evident; but the park may be identifiable by the obelisk on the horizon to the far left. Castle Howard has an obelisk and she may be a member of the Earl of Carlisle's family. KS

    SELECTED LITERATURE: Mallalieu, Dictionary of British Watercolour Painters, 1976; P. Noon, 'English Portrait Drawings and Miniatures', exh. YCBA, New Haven 1979, pp. 92-6; I.Jenkins, 'Adam Buck and the Vogue for Greek Vases', Burlington, CXXX, no. 1023, June 1986, pp. 448-55; P. Caffrey, 'Adam Buck', Oxford DNB [article 3847, accessed 26 Nov. 2007]

    Andrew Orr writes (May 2009), that there is a portrait by Buck of Margaret Moore (c.1805-1847), daughter of Henry Moore of Cremorgan, Queen's County, Ireland who married Sir Samuel Osborne-Gibbes, 2nd Baronet, in 1825 (private collection). It is signed and dated 1825 and is thus likely to be an engagement or marriage portrait.She is very similar to the woman in the present portrait and although identification cannot be confirmed because Buck's portraits often look alike, her firstborn child was Philip b. 24 Aug 1826 (d. unmarried in India 1850) who would fit (for age) with the child in the present portrait.(letter and photos in dossier).

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  • Location

    Not on display (British Imp PIV)

  • Exhibition history

    1991 Jan-April, BM, Recent Acquisitions (no cat.) 2008/9 Oct-Jan, Edinburgh, SNPG, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 147 2009 Mar-May, London, BM, Room 90, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 147
    2015 Jul-Oct, Oxford, The Ashmolean, 'An Elegant Society: Adam Buck'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1987

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1987,0307.10

Portrait of a woman and child; whole-length to front, the mother carrying a pink scarf over her left arm and holding the hand of the child before her, a chalice on a pedestal behind and a circular frieze on the wall, a rolling landscape beyond Watercolour, with pen and grey ink

Portrait of a woman and child; whole-length to front, the mother carrying a pink scarf over her left arm and holding the hand of the child before her, a chalice on a pedestal behind and a circular frieze on the wall, a rolling landscape beyond Watercolour, with pen and grey ink

Image description

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