Portrait miniature of a Child wearing white dress, black and pink cloak and hat, her blonde hair worn long and curled, 1800
Portrait miniature of a Child wearing white dress, black and pink cloak and hat, her blonde hair worn long and curled, 1800
Portrait miniature of a Child wearing white dress, black and pink cloak and hat, her blonde hair worn long and curled, 1800

Attributed to FRANCOIS FERRIÈRE (1752-1837)

Portrait miniature of a Child wearing white dress, black and pink cloak and hat, her blonde hair worn long and curled, 1800

1800 England

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£3,500 gbp
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This highly accomplished portrait miniature of a young girl is thought to have been painted by the successful Swiss miniaturist Francois Ferrière. This portrait is reminiscent of the work of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy, with its subtle chiaroscuro and delicately detailed facial features. Ferrière is known to have worked as a copyist, working from portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Sir William Beechey.[1] It is possible that this miniature derives from an original oil portrait, now lost.

Ferrière was born in Geneva and studied in Paris in 1770, before returning to Geneva where he married. He is thought to have arrived in England in 1793 and exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution. Whilst in England Ferrière was patronised by the royal family, although none of these portraits survive as part of the Royal Collection. The head-type used for Ferrière’s portrait miniature of Queen Charlotte, sold at Christie’s in 1965, almost certainly derives from Sir William Beechey’s full-length portrait of the Queen, dated 1796, in the Royal Collection [RCIN 405423].[2]

In 1804 Ferrière relocated to St Petersburg and Moscow, where he lost almost all of his possessions during the French invasion of 1812. Following Napoleon’s retreat, Ferrière moved back to St Petersburg and was made a member of the Academy in 1813. In 1817 he returned to England to work.

In the 1819 Royal Academy catalogue, Ferrière is listed as a portrait painter to Her Imperial Majesty the Dowager Empress of all Russians, and to the Grand Dukes Nicolas and Michael. He worked in Geneva again from 1822 until 1835, where he was a professor at the Academy of Painting and an associate of the Academy in St Peterburg. Ferrière retired to Morges in Switzerland in 1836, where he died on Christmas Day in 1839.

A portrait of John Ramsay, son of the artist Allan Ramsay, by Ferrière is in the National Galleries Scotland [PG 1478] and several portrait miniatures are in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


[1] Ferrière copied Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of The Hon. Emily Mary Lamb, later Viscountess Palmerson (1787-1870) signed and dated 1802. Sold at Sotheby’s London, 6 June 1996, lot 56.

[2] Queen Charlotte by Ferrière, sold at Christie’s, London 16 February 1965, lot 38.
Private Collection, UK
Dimensions
Height 65.00 mm (2.56 inches)
Stock Code
C657
Medium
Watercolour on ivory, and a gilt-metal frame with opalescent glass reverse
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Philip Mould & Company
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