Batenham, G. (McKechnie Section 3)

Recorded by Jackson (Dictionary), who spells his name wrongly as G. G. Baleuham.

Mr Graham Thomas has seen a profile of a woman, painted perhaps in c. 1800. It bore a trade label, on which the name Caernarvon had been deleted and 'St Asaph' substituted. A later example (illustrated), taken, apparently in c. 1815 at Chester, and recorded by Woodiwiss (British Silhouettes), bore another trade label, with a Chester address. A group profile of full-length figures (sold by Sotheby and Company, London, on 26 April 1971), which was taken c. 1815-17, also bore this label. Jackson records another example, labelled with an address at 'Mrs Haydinier's, St Asaph', which she dates to c. 1820. St Asaph is twenty-eight miles from Chester; Caernarvon, a longer distance to the west of St Asaph. It seems that Batenham was an itinerant artist who toured these areas between 1800 and 1820.

Each of the examples described by Woodiwiss and by Thomas was in a black rectangular frame, filled by flat black glass with, in the centre, a plain verre églomisé oval on which the silhouette was painted. Woodiwiss writes that the silhouette which he records 'appears as seen through an oval window.' Neither silhouette had a bust-line finish.

Batenham appears to have used black water‑colour pigment, and a certain amount of fingerprinting is visible on the transparent parts of the illustrated profile: for example, on the sitter's shirt-frill. On one full-length figure of a woman (from the group silhouette mentioned above) the whole of the sitter's dress was shown in fingerprinted transparency. This group profile was, in fact, painted in three layers: on a top piece of glass, a second piece of glass below this, and a piece of paper below the two pieces of glass. On the under side of the top piece of glass were painted two figures seated at a table (the figures were partly rendered with the fingerprinting method. On the lower piece of glass was painted the interior of the room, which included, as wall decoration, a plain black silhouette of a woman based on an original apparently painted in c. 1792. The window revealed a view of a garden, with shrubs, which was drawn on the piece of paper below the two pieces of glass, which were curved with a space of about a quarter of an inch between them to give a shadow effect. This three-layer arrangement may have been peculiar to Batenham.

I have already referred to the two known trade labels. No. 1, recorded by Mr Thomas, was a printed label (1³⁄₈ x 2¹⁄₈ in.), oval in shape, with a border of a pearl design. It read:

PROFILES TAKEN

From Six Shillings to One Guinea

G. BATENHAM

CAERNARVON

As I have mentioned on this example 'Caernarvon' had been struck through and 'St Asaph' substituted. As the lower price for profiles given on this label is lower than that on the other label, one can assume that it was used earlier.

Trade Label No. 2 (on the back of the illustrated profile) reads:

PROFILES TAKEN and Painted on Glass

from Seven and Sixpence to One Guinea

TIME OF SITTING FIVE MINUTES

Ladies and Gentlemen attended upon a line addressed to G.

Batenham, at Mr. Hunter's, CHESTER,

where FRAMES ARE ELEGANTLY FINISHED

The price of one guinea, mentioned on both labels, suggests the offer of full-length work, of which the group silhouette discussed above was an example.

Ill. 1005

1005
Richard Richardson, of Capenhurst
Silhouette painted on flat glass, with verre églomisé border
? c. 1815
Trade Label No. 2
Frame: rectangular, black wood

 

From the collection of the late J. C. Woodiwiss