ANGELIKA KAUFFMANN, R.A. | PORTRAIT OF WILLIAM HEBERDEN THE YOUNGER, M.D. (1767-1845) AS A BOY, HALF LENGTH, SEATED BESIDE A TABLE
Estimate: 80,000 - 120,000 USD
ANGELIKA KAUFFMANN, R.A.
(Coira 1741-1807 Roma)
PORTRAIT OF WILLIAM HEBERDEN THE YOUNGER, M.D. (1767-1845) AS A BOY, HALF LENGTH, SEATED BESIDE A TABLE
oil on canvas
24⅛ by 20⅛ in.; 61.2 by 51.1 cm.
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work has an old glue lining. The paint layer is stable. Cracking is visible here and there throughout the composition, but this is not an indication of any instability. Some of this cracking has attracted retouching in the hair, above the head, and on the lower left edge. There are also some retouches in the shadows of the shirt on the right side. In the face, there is a spot or two on the tip of the nose, beneath the nose, and around the eye on the left. The condition is very good overall, and it is recommended that the work be hung as is.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
Thence by descent in the family;
By whom anonymously sold, London, Bonham's, 7 July 2010, lot 15 (for $87,402).
Angelika Kauffmann completed this arresting portrait around 1779, when the sitter was only about twelve years old. Heberden was the studious son of a celebrated court doctor, and Kauffmann captures him here with an intelligent gaze and attributes that foreshadow his future as one of the leading physicians of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Following his early education at Charterhouse School and Saint John's College in Cambridge, Heberden studied medicine at Saint George's Hospital in London, receiving his medical degree in 1793, years before he turned thirty. By 1795, Heberden secured the important post as physician-extraordinary to the Queen, the same year he married Elizabeth Catherine (1776-1812), the daughter of Charles Miller of Oving, Sussex. Due to his success in service to the Queen, in 1809, Heberden was appointed as physician-in-ordinary to both the Queen and to King George III, who was known to have famously suffered from mental illness as early as 1788. The King's disease, latent for much of the first decade of the nineteenth century, returned in full force with its delusions and occasional violent outbursts in 1810, though Heberden's enlightened and restrained methods of treatment were ignored in favor of the forceful and repressive treatment introduced by Reverend Francis Willis and his two sons that ultimately left the King in a permanent state of hallucination and blindness.
In addition to his service of the King and Queen, Heberden was a member of the Royal College of Physicians as well as the Royal Society, and he famously penned Morborum puerilium Epitome (1804), a pediatric monograph, as well as a number of important papers in the Medical Transactions of the Royal College of Physicians.
We are grateful to Dr. Bettina Baumgärtel for assisting in the cataloguing of the present lot as well as for endorsing the attribution on the basis of firsthand inspection. This portrait will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Angelika Kauffmann. Although the portrait may originally have been conceived as a painted oval in a rectangular format, the corners have been completed by the artist or a period hand.
Thomas Gainsborough's portrait of William Heberden the Younger's older sister, Mrs. George Leonard Jenyns, is in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art .
1. Completed circa 1781, oil on canvas, 72 by 62.3 cm, inv. no. B1981.25.299. See H. Belsey, Thomas Gainsborough, New Haven 2019, vol. I., pp. 499-500, cat. no. 525, reproduced.