About the object

A portrait miniature of a Gentleman believed to be Kit Metcalfe, watercolour on ivory

Wearing blue coat and white waistcoat 
Set in a gilt-metal frame with glazed reverse showing inscription "Kit Metcalfe, my great uncle" 

It is possible that the sitter in this portrait represents Christopher Metcalfe who along with his brother Philip Metcalfe was head of the firm Metcalfe and co, a West Ham distillery in Essex.

With the financial success brought by the gin trade, Philip Metcalfe became a passionate art collector and was a patron of the Arts, among his friends and acquaintances were the writers Samuel Johnson, Frances Burney, the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, the philosopher Jeremy Bentham and West India merchant and art collector Robert Fullarton Udny (1722-1802) of Udny Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

With his brother so stepped in the arts it is not surprising that Christopher mingled with many of the top artists of the day.  In 1794 it is recorded that a Christopher Metcalfe Esq and distiller was summoned as a petty Juror 

Joseph Saunders (fl. 1772-1811) exhibited miniatures and mezzotints at the Society of Artists, 1772-76, at the R.A., 1778-1800 and again at the British Institution in 1808.

Signed with initials IS

Provenance: Sotheby's, 11 March 1993, lot 16

Condition report

Good

Stock number

4996