Portrait of Martha Seymer as Modesty
Oil painting on canvas 30 x 25 inches (76 x 64cm)
Contained in its original carved and gilded Georgian swept frame
Provenance: By family decent until the present.
Literature: Edward Mead Johnson Francis Cotes (Phaidon, 1976) cf. p.69 no.121
Francis Cotes was the son of a pharmacist, and the eldest brother of the miniaturist Samuel Cotes. He was apprenticed to the portrait painter George Knapton in the 1740's, and was at first confined to pastels, in which medium he is certainly the greatest English exponent of the 18th century. His first oil paintings dates from as late as 1753, and he did not seriously take up the medium until four years later. From 1765 he took a large house and studio at 32 Cavendish Square, and established himself as the first serious fashionable rival to Reynolds and Gainsborough. He was prominent in the Society of Artists and was a Foundation Member of the Royal Academy.