Core Holdings of the Tormey-Holder Collection: George Engleheart
Mary Tymewell Blake (1757-1841),
Who Later Became Mrs. George Anson Nutt
(identified by an engraving on the reverse)
by George Engleheart (ca. 1753-1829)
1 1/8 x 1 7/16 inches
watercolor on ivory; housed in a gilt metal pendant frame
Purchased for the collection alongside both the portrait of George Anson Nutt as a child (see below) and the portrait of Mary Nutt (also below). Mary Tymewell Blake was the second wife of Capt. George Anson Nutt (married on September 27, 1792). Mary Nutt was the second of four children born to Capt. Nutt and his first wife, Mary Smith, who died in 1791. (She was thus the step-daughter of Mary Tymewell Blake Nutt.)
This miniature exhibits all the telltale traits of portraits painted by Engleheart during his early period, described by Daphne Foskett as follows: "The size of his miniatures of this period were usually small and the backgrounds, as in the case of a child in my collection, were a darkish buff color, the shading often being obtained by fine vertical or slightly slanted strokes, and the application of opaque white to indicate the highlights on the hair and face. The faces were modeled by the use of bluish grey and reddish shading superimposed on a pale flesh tint."*
*Foskett, Daphne (1994). "Miniatures Dictionary and Guide", published in Suffolk and New York by the Antique Collectors' Club, 1994 edition, page 536.
About the Artist: George Engleheart was one of eight children (all sons) born to German immigrant Francis Englhart and his English-born wife, Anne Dawney. (The spelling of the family name was changed to Engleheart after the death of Francis in 1773). Entered the then-newly formed Royal Academy Schools in 1769, where he studied under George Barret. Also studied under and worked in the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, many of whose works he reproduced in miniature. Remained in London and began painting independently in 1773. Exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1773 to 1822. From 1775 to 1813, he kept a ledger book in which he recorded the names of his clients and the fees he charged to paint their portraits -- a resource that remains of great value to modern-day art historians and curators. [Several members of the Blake family are, in fact, recorded in this ledger: Capt. John Blake, Jr. (father of Mary Tymewell Blake, whose miniature portrait is held in the Tormey-Holder Collection), painted in 1778, Miss Arabella Blake (sister of Mary Tymewell Blake), painted in 1778, Mrs. Mary Blake (mother of Mary Tymewell Blake), painted in 1779, and Mary Tymewell Blake herself, painted in 1780.] Retired in 1818 to Blackheath, where he later died in 1829. Known to have works in collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Wallace Collection (London), the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge), The Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), the Holburne Museum (Bath) and numerous private collections.
Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 330, 331), Foskett (pages 535, 536) and Schidloff (pages 237, 238).
Related portraits in the Tormey-Holder Collection
(click photos for larger views and additional information):
George Anson Nutt (1750-1828)
Eight Years of Age
Mary Nutt (1785-1810), Daughter of Capt. George Anson Nutt
and Step Daughter of Mary Tymewell Blake Nutt