An Enchanting Young Girl Wearing a Garland of Flowers
|Title:||An Enchanting Young Girl Wearing a Garland of Flowers|
|Artist:||Charles Baxter Attributed (1809-1879) British|
|Detail:||Circular oil on canvas, 17x17in. frame:23x23 in. Circa 1830|
An enchanting head and shoulders portrait of a young girl wearing a white shirt, her short dark curls crowned with a red-ribboned wreath of Morning Glory flowers, and her cheek resting on her hands clasped atop a column, against a ground of blue sky and two fluttering peacock butterflies.
This charming unsigned work resembles the hand of Sir Joshua Reynolds although the canvas is not quite old enough to be by him. Other genre artists that come to mind like Sophie Anderson are on the other hand too late in period.
It is interesting to note the sitter bears a marked resemblance to Lady Gertrude Fitzpatrick, who was the subject of Sir Joshua Reynolds 1779 painting entitled ‘Collina’, (Columbus Museum of Art).
The present work however is more likely to be a fancy picture than a conventional portrait. The column and butterflies suggest the Greek goddess Psyche, although the girl may also represent a month or season, or is simply a fairy figure.
This unsigned work is undoubtedly by an important early Victorian artist and it is interesting to note the canvas sometime relined, is on a stretcher with impressed stamp ‘W. Morrill Liner’ William
Morrill (1838-1910) picture restorer took over his fathers business in 1866, working extensively for the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Collections and other prominent collectors.
After considerable research the artist has to be one of a few early Victorian genre artists painting about 1830. William Etty and Charles Baxter are both strong contenders, although the latter specialised more in this subject matter and with several known works painted in circular manner.
We attribute this charming work to Charles Baxter who was an English portrait and subject painter, known especially for his portraits of charming pretty girls. He lived and worked in London and exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1834 and 1872; he also exhibited at Suffolk Street.
Many of Baxter’s paintings included poetic and rustic subjects. He started his career as a bookbinder and miniature painter, and was elected a member of the Society of British Artists in 1842.His studio sale was held at Christie’s on 15 March 1879.
Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and many UK A.G.’s