Lot 542

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Rosalba Carriera (Italian, 1673-1757)
Portrait of a gentleman, possibly a member of the Wade family
Pastel on paper, held in an 18th century gilt wood frame
22 x 16 1/2in. (56 x 42cm.)
* Provenance: By descent from the Wade family.
This recently discovered portrait is a fine example of Rosalba Carriera's work; the pose being quite typical, with the composition overall reflecting other known works finished during the mid 1720s - though she never appears to have signed, and rarely dated, any of her pastels. Previously unrecorded it has passed by descent through the same family since the 18th century. The identity of the sitter has traditionally been thought to be that of Field Marshal George Wade (1673-1748), but this cannot be possible given various factors most obviously the youth of the sitter and the proposed dateline of the work. Wade died unmarried but left four illegitimate children, including two sons George (1721-1799) and John (1720-1799) both of whom became soldiers. The date proposed for this portrait suggests, however, that it cannot represent either son and is therefore perhaps a record of a more distant relative to the Field Marshal, with an extensive branch of the family having originated from Ireland.
Rosalba found great popularity amongst the visiting British gentry and nobility to Venice in the first half of the eighteenth century. Increasingly in demand her studio became a favourite haunt for many Grand tourists who eagerly required their likenesses to be recorded during their time in Italy, perhaps most notably Horace Walpole and Henry Fiennes-Clinton, later 2nd Duke of Newcastle.
** CONDITION: Has been examined out of frame - frame had not been disturbed for many decades. No inscriptions or writing to back. Reverse of stretcher lined with cloth to dust proof but paper not laid down. Nail heads around edges of stretcher rusted and have caused small stains and holes to paper above each nail. Right hand margin of paper has white chalked numbers running from bottom to top (1 to 9). Condition overall good and no restoration visible - faults as follows: Vertical 2 1/4in scratch just before left hand shoulder. Very faint smudge lines across pastel at a 45 degree angle to top of right arm extending into dark background (approx. 3in long). Two very faint 1in. scratch lines at top of right cheek (barely visible). Tiny white dot (possibly mould, possibly a pastel fleck) to right arm, just above robe. There is a pink discoloured band (approx. 1cm. deep) across very bottom margin (not visible when in frame). Faint dark stretcher lines at top left and lower right corners (each approx. 4in long). No other damage, defects or restoration noted.

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June 18, 2015 10:00 AM BST
Guernsey, United Kingdom

Martel Maides

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