Very Nice 18th Century half length portrait attributed to Thomas Beach. Medium: oil on canvas. Measures 29 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ – Framed in Gold Frame. Entitled Portrait of a Gentleman. Although the work was previously thought as originating in Europe (Continental School), the fantastic rendering is now believed to be attributed to Thomas Beach from the British School. Aside from the fact that the painting is likely too early to be included in the Continental School, there are several indicators that would suggest the painting more properly be catalogued as being from the earlier British School. Some such indicators include the painted oval portrait border, the candle-light palette, the type of powdered wig, ascot and subdued high collared uniform, among others.
Furthermore, in our qualified opinion, based on the information available, the painting is a work of the period of the artist which may be in whole or part the work of Thomas Beach. While the work has similarities to portraits of several English 18th century portraiture artists, the piece has the strongest resemblance to the work of the prolific english portrait artist Thomas Beach. Beaches work exhibits a similar style, used painted oval borders, subdued candle-lit lighting, specialized in half length portraits, preferred painting the subject from the left side, with sitter usually turned 45 degrees, brush stroke and technique likeness, etc. (E.g. Portrait of Francis Steward, Thomas Beach self-portrait, 4th Baron Coleraine, Portrait of a Man, and the portrait of James Scott Beach). While numerous other British School portraiture painters have been studied, and may have a few similarities (see Thomas Hardy, Henry Walton, Arthur William Devis, an earlier work of George Knapton, Cosmo Alexander, with similar painted textures, especially in the wigs, also added some streaks of color in the wigs, similar depth (or lack of depth) among others) none seem to reflect the closeness of style and rendering as Beach.
Thomas Beach (1738 – 17 December 1806) was an English portrait painter who studied under Sir Joshua Reynolds. Beach was born at Milton Abbas, Dorset in 1738, and showed. a strong predilection for art from an early age. In 1760, under the patronage of Lord Dorchester’s family, he became a pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds, while at the same time studying at the St. Martin’s Lane Academy. He then settled at the fashionable resort of Bath, where he was much in demand for his portraits and portrait groups.
The British (or English) school, was a dominant school of painting in England throughout the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th. Its establishment marked the rise of a national tradition that began with the emergence of native artists whose works were no longer provincial but rivaled continental art in quality and ended by exercising considerable influence on the course of European painting. British national initiatives to bolster art in the 18th century proved an important step in the history of art in this region. With portraits being previously outsourced elsewhere in Europe, the British School began to flourish with portrait painters that rivaled the best on the Continent.
Condition: Upon inspection in the frame, with the exception of a small lacuna as pictured and the age appropriate craquelure there is no major apparent damage to rendering or medium.
Attribution: Please see terms and conditions. It is not always known with certainty who created a painting or piece of art work. An attribution is a reasonable assessment of who was responsible for creating a particular work of art. Attributions are made with different degrees of certainty, depending on factors such as style and documentary and scientific evidence. When a work of art is “attributed” to an artist, the assessor has concluded that, based on all available evidence, the art is reasonably believed to be an original work in whole or in part by the artist. However, the assessor maintains a degree of uncertainty that would prevent a definitive attribution (thereby removing the term attribution). Consequently, there can be no assurance or guaranty that the paintings attribution will necessarily ever be further proven or confirmed. Consequently, the buyer is encouraged to seek an independent professional assessment from a qualified appraiser or examiner.
Pricing: The most recent public sale of a Thomas Beach portrait (of almost the exact size as the present painting) was the Portrait of John Rogers sold on January 16, 2016 by Brunk Auctions for $3,000 (unfortunately our records do not contain a picture of the painting). However, immediately preceding was the sale of Beach’s Portrait of William Helyar at Christies in London on April 30, 2015 for $24,612. The Five Beach portraits sold in public auctions immediatley prior to the sale of William Helyar carried the following hammer prices: In 2015 – Sotheby’s London $14,613; In 2014 – Woolley & Wallis, England $6263; Bonhams London $13,713; Christie’s London $3,328 and 2013 – Bonhoms London $4,826. Nonetheless, Worthington strongly encourages all interested buyers to conduct their own independent investigation.