Portrait of Helena Beaston

Katherine Read
(1723 - 1778) Scottish
Title Portrait of Helena Beaston
Category Recently Sold
Medium & Size Oil on canvas:25x30 inches. Frame: 33x37 inches. Original gilt frame. Circa 1770
Price Band £5,000 - £10,000
Location Please Refer

Read was born in Scotland in 1723, one of thirteen children of merchant from Dundee, Alexander Read of Logie and Elizabeth Wedderburn. Miss Reads uncle was the Jacobite - John Wedderburn of Blackness, whose daughters were cared for by Read after his execution.

Miss Read was for some years a fashionable artist in London, working in oils, crayons, and miniature. From 1760 she exhibited annually with either the Society of Artists, the Free Society, or the Royal Academy, sending chiefly portraits of ladies and children of the aristocracy, which she painted with much grace and refinement.

Read's talent for portraiture was highly regarded in her day, and was the subject of an epistle by Tobias Smollett. In 1763 she exhibited a portrait of Queen Charlotte with the infant Prince of Wales, and in 1765 one of the latter with his brother, Prince Frederick.

Miss Read resided in St. James's Place, London until 1766, when she removed to Jermyn Street. In 1771 she went to India with her niece, Helena Beatson, a clever young artist, who there married, in 1777, (Sir) Charles Oakeley, bart., governor of Madras. She is reported as being in that country in 1775 and 1777, and as dying at sea near Madras in 1789.

Some works by Read have at one time been attributed to Joshua Reynolds. A portrait of Lady Georgiana Spencer has been noted as one of her finest.

Provenance: Anne Read (sister in law to Miss Read) and by decent. Highcliffe Sale, Devon 1954. TFA

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