Reginald Easton | Michael's Museum

Antique miniature portraits of the Tormey-Holder Collection



English Artist: Reginald Easton



Portrait miniature by Reginald Easton of Augusta Frances Spencer Smith (1849-1934)

Augusta Frances Spencer Smith (1849-1934),
Painted at the Age of 14
(younger sister of Isabella Mary Spencer Smith -- see related portrait below)

dated 1863
by Reginald Easton

2 9/16 x 3 3/16 inches (sight)

watercolor on ivory; housed in a gilt metal pendant frame


About the Artist: Little is known of Reginald Easton's origins other than that he was born on April 7, 1806 in Didbrook, Gloucester (baptized on August 17, 1807), the youngest of twelve children born to Charles and Elizabeth Easton of Coscombe House, Didbrook. Claiming to be entirely self taught, Easton began his art career as an engraver. He soon tired of the effects of copper and steel, however, and preferring to work with color, he abandoned engraving for miniature portraiture. That he was self-taught is quite remarkable when one considers the great skill with which he depicted his subjects. His overall draftsmanship, his balance of color and light, his use of soft, pleasing tones in clothing and backgrounds, and the soft, glowing skin tones he imparted upon his subjects brought him much favor and popularity amongst the fashionable and elite of Victorian London. A sign of great success as an artist of his era, he earned the patronage of much of the aristocracy and the Royal Family. Amongst his royal sitters were King William IV (1765-1837, uncle and predecessor of Queen Victoria), Princess Alexandra of Wales (1844-1925, later Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII), Prince George of Wales (1865-1936, grandson of Queen Victoria, and later King George V), Princess Louise of Wales (1867-1931, granddaughter of Queen Victoria), Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine (1863-1950, granddaughter of Queen Victoria), Princess Elizabeth of Hesse and by Rhine (1864-1918, granddaughter of Queen Victoria), Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine (1866-1953, granddaughter of Queen Victoria), Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein (1867-1900, grandson of Queen Victoria), and Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein (1869-1931, grandson of Queen Victoria). Despite both his enviable skill and enviable clientele, however, Easton never achieved much financial success during his career. William Powell Frith (1819-1909), a contemporary and friend of Easton lamented this fact after Easton's death in 1892, when he spoke of having encouraged Easton for years to raise his prices. "The fault was perhaps his own," Frith continued, "loving only his art, he cared little for how it was rewarded, and towards the end of his career, though his powers were unimpaired, the photographic fiend pursued him [referring to the competition of photography], and all hope of better prices for his miniatures was gone." [Frith, William Powell (1893). Reginald Easton, Miniature Painter (article), published in The Magazine of Art, Cassell & Co., London, page 151.] Easton exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts between 1835 and 1887. He is known to have works in collections of the the Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the National Portrait Gallery (London), the British Museum (London), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), and numerous private collections. Listed by Arturi Phillips (page 200), Benezit, Blättel (pages 322, 323), and Foskett (page 534).



Other portraits in the Tormey-Holder Collection by Reginald Easton
(click photo for larger view and additional information):


Portrait miniature by Reginald Easton of Isabella Mary Spencer Smith (1846-1870)

Isabella Mary Spencer Smith (1846-1870),
Painted at the Age of 17






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