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Pearse, James (McKechnie Section 1)


A Portsmouth artist, of whose work there are two examples in the National Portrait Gallery, London, noted by Jackson (Dictionary). One, of Nelson, is said by Jackson to have been cut in 1805, just before he sailed for the Battle of Trafalgar. The other is of the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria's mother, looking very much older than in the portrait by Benjamin Pearce the elder (q.v.). The Duchess seems to have made a practice of taking seaside holidays, and this profile was no doubt actually taken in Portsmouth. The latter profile, in fact, appears to have been cut in the 1830s, some twenty-five years after the portrait of Nelson. If Pearse remained in continual practice, more of his work is probably extant. It is possible that the portrait of Nelson was not taken from life, but copied from an earlier example.

Both silhouettes are in plain black, with differing bust-lines, and both are signed 'James Pearse, Portsmouth'.

Ills. 548, 549

Admiral Lord Nelson
Cut silhouette


Signed ‘James Pearse, Portsmouth’.


National Portrait Gallery, London


The Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria
Cut silhouette


Signed ‘James Pearse, Portsmouth’.
Compare with 546 (a silhouette of the same sitter).


National Portrait Gallery, London