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Charles, A. (McKechnie Section 6)

See Section Two for main entry

As a silhouette artist, Charles ranks high. As a painter of portrait miniatures, he is not consistently successful, and his achievement in this field is probably less valuable. I have illustrated one representative portrait miniature, of a man (c. 1794). Like other examples by Charles which I have seen, it is painted against a conventional background showing a cloudy sky. Charles's silhouettes of members of the Curry family (see Section Two) are painted against a roughly stippled, rather dreary-looking background. On the illustrated miniature, the sky is heavily and luridly painted; I have seen this feature better handled by Charles on other miniatures. The blue tones of the sitter's coat are not very well rendered, but the brushwork on his hair and on his cravat (an aspect of miniature portraiture in which Charles had acquired great experience in his monochrome work) is much better.

The miniature is signed on the front, beneath the bust, 'by Charles, RA'. (In Section Two, where this signature is illustrated, I suggest that Charles used this form after November 1793). There is another signature on the reverse: Charles, RA. Likeness Painter to the Prince of Wales, No. 130, Strand'.

Ill. 1525

Unknown man
Portrait miniature painted on ivory
c. 1794
2 ½ x 2in./64 x 51mm.


Signed, on the front, ‘by Charles, R. A.’; on the reverse, ‘By Charles R. A. Likeness Painter to the Prince of Wales, No. 130, Strand.’


Author’s collection