THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
he seen in profile, with powered hair en queue, wearing a brown coat, buff waistcoat, lace jabot, encased in an ermine-lined drape, gold frame, glazed hair reverse; she, in profile, with powdered hair, wearing a blue coat, lace jabot and top hat; he verso, with powdered hair, wearing a brown coat, red waistcoat and knotted white cravat, an ermine-lined drape around his shoulders, gold frame
The artist Charles Guillaume Alexandre Bourgeois lived in Paris. The vast majority of his work takes the form of painted profiles against a dark blue or black ground. Although he is mostly remembered for his work as a miniaturist, he also painted larger portraits in oil.
Spencer Compton, 8th Earl of Northampton, was educated at Westminster. He served as an officer in the Coldstream Guards between 1759 - 1760 and was Groom of the Bedchamber from 1760-63. He became M.P of Northampton between 1761 and 1763. However, his attempted re-election in 1768 ‘almost ruined him’ and that year he ‘went to Switzerland for the rest of his life, partly for economy and partly because of health,’ (see Namier & Brooke, A history of Parliament, The Commons 1754-1790, vol. II, 1964 p. 242). It is not known when he and his daughter sat for the present works. Their costumes and hair-style, however, suggest that it was around 1790.
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