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Portrait miniature - Miss Harriet and Miss Elizabeth Binney
  • Miss Harriet and Miss Elizabeth Binney
    Smart, John, born 1742 - died 1811
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Miss Harriet and Miss Elizabeth Binney

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    1806 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Smart, John, born 1742 - died 1811 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on card

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Joan Gwladis Trevor, a descendant of Harriet Binney

  • Museum number:

    P.20-1978

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Physical description

Portrait miniature of two sisters seated at a harpsichord and facing the viewer.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (painted)

Date

1806 (painted)

Artist/maker

Smart, John, born 1742 - died 1811 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on card

Dimensions

Height: 225 mm, Width: 24.2 cm, Width: 245 mm

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of two sisters seated at a harpsichord by John Smart. Great Britain, 1806.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum.London: V&A, 1985, p.96

Materials

Water-colour; Card

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Harpsichord

Categories

Portraits; Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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