JAMES NORTHCOTE R.A. | A YOUNG WOMAN AND GIRL OFFERING CHARITY TO A KNEELING BEGGAR BOY WITH A MONKEY ON HIS SHOULDER
The Property of a Gentleman
JAMES NORTHCOTE R.A.
Plymouth 1746 - 1831 London
A YOUNG WOMAN AND GIRL OFFERING CHARITY TO A KNEELING BEGGAR BOY WITH A MONKEY ON HIS SHOULDER
oil on canvas
unframed: 157.7 x 127 cm.; 62 x 50 in.
framed: 179 x 150 cm.; 70½ x 59 in.
Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot
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The canvas is lined, the paint surface is clean and the varnish is clear and even. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals small, very few, scattered retouchings in the sky and some in the foreground, but relatively little intervention. The painting presents well in its current state and appears to be in overall very good condition.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Commissioned by Mr Smith for 30 guineas in 1784;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 5 June 1953, lot 96, for £75 to Peterson;
In the collection of the present owner for at least a decade.
S. Gwynn, Memorials of an Eighteenth Century Painter (James Northcote), London 1898, p. 271, cat. no. 185;
J. Simon, 'The account book of James Northcote', in The Walpole Society, vol. LVIII, 1995-96, p. 52, no. 200;
M. Postle, Angels and Urchins, the Fancy Picture in 18th Century British Art, exh. cat., Kenwood House 1998, pp. 89-90.
Possibly London, Royal Academy, 1785, no. 142 (The Charity);
Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, on loan June 2010 - June 2020.
William Ward, 1787 (with title A young lady encouraging the low comedian).1
Northcote's Account book records a payment for 30 guineas for this picture in 1785 from 'Mr Smith'. The same collector also bought 'Connubial Happiness' by the same artist shortly afterwards. It seems likely that the buyer was one of the family of bankers from Nottingham, as only a few years earlier, in 1783, Northcote had painted a portrait of Elizabeth Smith, widow of Abel Smith of Nottingham, with her daughter. The present picture could have been commissioned by Robert or Samuel Smith, two of Abel Smith's brothers and both successful bankers, or his father Abel Smith, head of the banking family.
In his catalogue entry for the print of this subject in the Angels and Urchins exhibition, Dr. Martin Postle points out that the boy is recognisable as Jack Hill, the same model who often sat for Gainsborough in the mid 1780s - he appears in A Shepherd and Beggar Boys.2 Gainsborough had seen him begging near his house in St. James' Street. The inspiration for the picture comes from Murillo's paintings of street urchins, which were very popular in England in the 18th century. It is particularly close to Murillo's Three Boys (Dulwich Art Gallery).3