Portrait miniaturist Andrew Plimer began his training as a clockmaker, but as a youth he and his older brother, Nathaniel, ran away and joined a troupe of gypsies. About 1781, the brothers both entered domestic service in London, and Andrew became a manservant to Richard Cosway. A famous miniaturist, Cosway was generous in encouraging Andrew. Cosway allowed the young man to act as his studio assistant, taught him the basics of miniature portraiture, and possibly even paid for drawing lessons. In this beautiful example, Plimer is looking to Cosway´s distinctive style: enormous, deep eyes and tousled hair, blue sky, and floating clouds suggesting his lovely subject sits amid limitless space.


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Artist
Andrew Plimer, English, 1763–1837
Title
Portrait of a Woman
Date
c. 1785
Medium
Watercolor on ivory, 9k rose gold, hair, embossed metallic foil, and glass
Dimensions
Overall: 3 × 2 1/2 in. (7.6 × 6.4 cm) Storage box: 4 1/4 × 3 3/8 × 1 1/4 in. (10.8 × 8.6 × 3.2 cm)
Credit Line

The Rienzi Collection, bequest of Caroline A. Ross

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
2005.1618
Classification
Miniature (Portraits)
Provenance

[Judy & Brian Harden Antiques, Cheltenham, U.K.]; Caroline A. Ross bequest to MFAH, 2005.