Robertson, Charles - portrait of a man in a blue coat

This miniature was described only as a "memorial portrait pendant" when it was acquired. As the auction was in Philadelphia, prior to arrival it was thought the miniature was likely to be by Walter Robertson (1750-1802) who worked in Philadelphia PA between 1794 and 1796.

In speaking of Walter Robertson, Dale Johnson notes; "Features frequently found in Robertson's miniatures are round blue eyes, a solemn expression, powdered hair tied back in a queue against a light brown hatched background; also a high-collared blue waistcoat with brass buttons, a gold vest, and a soft white jabot".

However, on arrival it was possible to make a closer inspection. As a result it is now thought more likely to be painted by Charles Robertson (1760-1821), the brother of Walter Robertson, although Walter is still a possibility.

Charles was a member of a prominent family of Dublin jewellers and miniaturists. He worked in Dublin for most of his career, although he did spend some time in London.

The rear of the case shown here is almost identical with a case of 1785 that contains a miniature attributed to the Buck family of Cork, Ireland. This can be seen at
The Art of High Living: Miniature Goldwork by Elle Shushan from ...

In "Treasures to Hold", Paul McCaffrey comments on the style of Charles Robertson in the following terms; "Charles Robertson deployed a distinctive use of colour in his miniature portraits, using a particular slate grey-blue in the flesh tones" and "The background is painted in parallel lines of blue and grey. Subtle variations of colour and pale tones blend into each other and his outlines are slightly fuzzy. The blue-grey tones are also indicative of him".

Two close-ups here show these features, in particular the parallel grey and blue lines in the background, the blue in the facial detail, and the overall fuzzy outlines.

The sitter is unknown. 1250

No comments: