Not currently on display at the V&A

Portrait of a Baby

Oil Painting
1690-1730 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This portrait shows a baby alone and in close-up, propped against white pillows between curtains of dark blue satin. It is unusual in Britain in the 18th century to find a portrait of a baby by itself. Babies are more often shown as part of a family group. Single portraits exist of babies who had died, but they are usually shown in burial clothes. Here the emphasis is on the strong and healthy appearance of the child, who was perhaps the artist’s own.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Portrait of a baby painted in the UK by an artist of the circle of Mary Beale, probably in the 18th century
Physical Description
Portrait of a baby, in oil colour on canvas, of portrait proportions. The baby is portrayed alone and in close-up, sitting propped against white pillows between curtains of dark blue satin (presumably on a bed). He or she wears a high-necked white garment with long full sleeves

gathered into a frill at the wrist, and a close-fitting cap of white fabric trimmed with lace and a band of pale pink ribbon. The frame is of gessoed and gilded wood, decorated with arabesque forms and grotesque masks.
Dimensions
  • Canvas height: 77.5cm
  • Canvas width: 65cm
  • Frame height: 95.8cm
  • Frame width: 81.5cm
Object history
Bought at Phillips' sale of British & Victorian Paintings, 13/12/1994
Production
Attributed to the Circle of Mary Beale (1632-1697)
Subject depicted
Summary
This portrait shows a baby alone and in close-up, propped against white pillows between curtains of dark blue satin. It is unusual in Britain in the 18th century to find a portrait of a baby by itself. Babies are more often shown as part of a family group. Single portraits exist of babies who had died, but they are usually shown in burial clothes. Here the emphasis is on the strong and healthy appearance of the child, who was perhaps the artist’s own.
Collection
Accession Number
B.447-1994

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record createdDecember 22, 1999
Record URL