Pinkie by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Counted cross stitch chart or kit from the Scarlet Quince Fine Art 1701 to 1829 Collection.
Sir Thomas Lawrence RA (13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830) was a notable English painter, mostly of portraits.
He was born in Bristol. His father was an innkeeper, first at Bristol and afterwards at Devizes, and at the age of six Lawrence was already being shown off to the guests of the Bear as an infant prodigy who could sketch their likenesses and declaim speeches from Milton. In 1779 the elder Lawrence had to leave Devizes, having failed in business and Thomas's precocious talent began to be the main source of the family's income; he had gained a reputation along the Bath road. His debut as a crayon portrait painter was made at Oxford, where he was well patronized, and in 1782 the family settled in Bath, where the young artist soon found himself fully employed in taking crayon likenesses of fashionable people at a guinea or a guinea and a half a head. In 1784 he gained the prize and silver-gilt palette of the Society of Arts for a crayon drawing after Raphael's "Transfiguration," and presently beginning to paint in oil.
Pinkie is the traditional title for a portrait of 1794 by Thomas Lawrence in the permanent collection of The Huntington at San Marino, California where it hangs opposite The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough. These two works are the centerpieces of the institute's art collection, which specializes in 18th-century English portraiture. The painting is an elegant depiction of Sarah Barrett Moulton, who was about eleven years old when painted. Her direct gaze and the loose, highly-movemented brushwork give the portrait a lively immediacy.
Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton was born in 1783 in Jamaica. She was the daughter of Charles Barrett Moulton, a wealthy plantation owner. Lawrence's portrait was a commission by her grandmother at the time Sarah left Jamaica with her brothers to complete her education in England. The portrait's title and obvious visual puns refer to Sarah's family nickname, "Pinkie". She died on April 23, 1795, one year after the portrait was completed, probably of whooping cough, contracted from one of her brothers.
Pinkie was probably first displayed at the 1795 Royal Academy summer exhibition. According to an official Huntington Library publication:
Many of the finest works by the most gifted English artists of the period were large formal portraits. Although most of the pictures were commissioned by the sitter, many were also intended for public display. They made their first appearances at the annual Royal Academy exhibition, which was then the principal artistic event of the year. A somewhat grand and rhetorical air was considered appropriate for this type of painting, and this artistic intention should be kept in mind when looking at the portraits in the Huntington collection.
Sarah's brother Edward, who later owned the portrait, changed his surname to Moulton-Barrett. He became the father of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The painting was one of the last acquisitions of California land developer Henry E. Huntington in 1927. In 1934 the Huntington foundation constructed a new main gallery as an addition to the former residence for the collection's major portraits. Except for brief intervals during traveling exhibitions, Pinkie has hung there since that time.
Approx: 14" x 21" or 36 x 52 cm - when worked on 18ct or 36ct.
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