Miss Harriet and Miss Elizabeth Binney

Portrait Miniature
1806 (painted)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

John Smart was based in Madras for the decade he was working in India, and although he left India in 1795, his connection with the Binney family was clearly resumed in London, where this double portrait was painted. Charles Binney had been Secretary to an Indian ruler who lived near Madras. Harriet and Elizabeth were Binney’s daughters. Harriet (on the left) married Andrew Trevor in 1797, surgeon to the 33rd Regiment of Foot, the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. (Andrew Trevor was an ancestor of Miss Joan Gwladis Trevor, who gave this wonderful watercolour to the V&A.) In the 1780s Smart began to paint small oval watercolour portraits on paper, offering clients a quicker and cheaper alternative to his miniatures on ivory. This double portrait is a superb elaboration of this style of work, which would have been very laborious for Smart to have painted on ivory. However, the disadvantage of paper is its tendency to discolour with age, which is what gives this picture its slight brown tinge.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on card
Brief Description
Portrait miniature of two sisters seated at a harpsichord by John Smart. Great Britain, 1806.
Physical Description
Portrait miniature of two sisters seated at a harpsichord and facing the viewer.
Dimensions
  • Height: 225mm
  • Width: 24.2cm
  • Width: 245mm
Style
Credit line
Given by Miss Joan Gwladis Trevor, a descendant of Harriet Binney
Subjects depicted
Summary
John Smart was based in Madras for the decade he was working in India, and although he left India in 1795, his connection with the Binney family was clearly resumed in London, where this double portrait was painted. Charles Binney had been Secretary to an Indian ruler who lived near Madras. Harriet and Elizabeth were Binney’s daughters. Harriet (on the left) married Andrew Trevor in 1797, surgeon to the 33rd Regiment of Foot, the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. (Andrew Trevor was an ancestor of Miss Joan Gwladis Trevor, who gave this wonderful watercolour to the V&A.) In the 1780s Smart began to paint small oval watercolour portraits on paper, offering clients a quicker and cheaper alternative to his miniatures on ivory. This double portrait is a superb elaboration of this style of work, which would have been very laborious for Smart to have painted on ivory. However, the disadvantage of paper is its tendency to discolour with age, which is what gives this picture its slight brown tinge.
Bibliographic Reference
100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum.London: V&A, 1985, p.96
Collection
Accession Number
P.20-1978

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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