Miniature thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Miniature

ca. 1740 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Although the miniature frame names this figure as Thomas Tilson, father of Lady Deane, this attribution is doubtful. His costume has been dated between 1735 and 1745, while the costume of the woman named as Lady Deane's mother (Loan:Gilbert.284-2008) is dated much earlier. One suggestion is that the figure is in fact Lady Deane's husband, Robert Deane.

Before he became a miniaturist, Gervase Spencer was employed as a gentleman's servant. He became a successful miniature painter on the newly fashionable base of ivory and later also produced work in enamel.

Continental artists first introduced enamel painting to England in the 17th century. But it was in the early 18th century that it became fashionable. The young German Christian Friedrich Zincke dominated the market in London. It was Zincke who trained a number of English artists, including William Prewett. Most artists working in enamel were taught by an experienced enameller. It is not known who trained Gervase Spencer this difficult art, but he later taught Henry Spicer, who in turn taught William Birch. In 1794 Birch successfully established himself in America as an enamel painter.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Enamel on copper, in paste-set silver-rim frame with agate backs
Brief Description
Enamel miniature on copper possibly of Thomas Tilson, in a silver frame with an agate back, England, ca.1740, by Gervase Spencer.
Physical Description
Oval miniature portrait of a man, possibly Thomas Tilson father of Lady Deane, wearing a blue jacket. The miniature is enamel on copper and the frame is a silver rim, with agate backs, engraved with an inscription.
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.12cm
  • Width: 4.74cm
  • Depth: 1.14cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Signed 'GS' (In red on lower right)
  • Engraved 'Thomas Tilson Father of Lady Deane' (On frame)
Gallery Label
Possibly Thomas Tilson, Lady Deane’s father About 1740 Although the miniature frame names this figure, this attribution is doubtful. His costume has been dated between 1735 and 1745, while that of his ‘wife’ (10) is dated earlier. One suggestion is that this figure is not Lady Deane’s father, but her husband, Robert Deane. England; Gervase Spencer (about 1715–63) Enamel on copper in paste-set silver-rim frame with agate backs Signed ‘GS’ in red on lower right; engraved on frame ‘Thomas Tilson Father of Lady Deane’ Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.283-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Lord Muskerry. Sale, Christie's London, lot 53, 24/11/1981. D.S. Lavender, London, 01/10/1982.
Summary
Although the miniature frame names this figure as Thomas Tilson, father of Lady Deane, this attribution is doubtful. His costume has been dated between 1735 and 1745, while the costume of the woman named as Lady Deane's mother (Loan:Gilbert.284-2008) is dated much earlier. One suggestion is that the figure is in fact Lady Deane's husband, Robert Deane.



Before he became a miniaturist, Gervase Spencer was employed as a gentleman's servant. He became a successful miniature painter on the newly fashionable base of ivory and later also produced work in enamel.



Continental artists first introduced enamel painting to England in the 17th century. But it was in the early 18th century that it became fashionable. The young German Christian Friedrich Zincke dominated the market in London. It was Zincke who trained a number of English artists, including William Prewett. Most artists working in enamel were taught by an experienced enameller. It is not known who trained Gervase Spencer this difficult art, but he later taught Henry Spicer, who in turn taught William Birch. In 1794 Birch successfully established himself in America as an enamel painter.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
Coffin, Sarah and Bodo Hofstetter. Portrait Miniatures in Enamel. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with the Gilbert Collection, 2000. 168 p., ill. Cat. no. 53, pp. 103-104. ISBN 0856675334.
Other Numbers
  • 1996.804.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 39A - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.791.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 26 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.283-2008

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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