1691 - 1755
Portrait of Ann Austen, nee Grey

Oil on canvas, signed ‘BDandridge/ pinxit’ lower left
Image size: 48 x 39 inches (126.9 x 101.5cm)
Original frame

 

Provenance
By descent through the sitter’s family to
The Collection of R. W. Vivian-Neal of Poundisford Park, Somerset, from whom acquired by
With Lane Fine Art, UK, where purchased by the present owners in 1996

Literature
‘Poundisford Park, Somerset’ in Country Life, 22 December 1934, ill.
A.W. and C.M. Vivian-Neal, Poundisford Park, Somerset: A catalogue of pictures and furniture, Taunton 1939, cat. nos. 11 and 13

This is a portrait of Ann Austen, nee Grey, three-quarter-length seated in a landscape with her dog. Painted in a superb white satin dress, she holds horn spectacles and a spectacle case (there are references in the family papers to trouble that she had with her eyes). A spaniel presses his head against her crinoline; no doubt it was his kennel which was still in the attic at Dean Street in 1758 when the inventory of her possessions were taken some years after her death.

Ann was the daughter of William and Ann Grey of Backworth: born on the 30 August 1713, she married Captain Robert Austen in 1748. Ann was brought up at the home of her uncle, Richard Gifford in Poland Street in Soho, until his death in 1739, when she moved to nearby Dean Street, where she continued to live after her marriage until her death in 1753.

The Country Life article compares the composition of Jane’s portrait to Gainsborough’s celebrated portrait of Mrs Robinson in the Wallace Collection, ‘even to the train of convolvulus in the background.’

The Artist

Bartholomew Dandridge (1691 – c. 1754) was an English portrait painter

He studied at Sir Godfrey Kneller’s academy of painting and later at the St Martin’s Lane Academy (now just a stones throw from Darnley Fine Art). He had a career as a fashionable portrait painter in London for more than forty years, working in a style similar to that of John Vanderbank. In 1732, he was commissioned by Lord Barington to paint a portrait of Frederick, Prince of Wales on horseback.

In 1733, he moved to 55, Great Queen Street, which had formed part of the house of Sir Godfrey Kneller until his death two years before.

He played a part in the development of the conversation piece, making groups of model figures to judge effects of light and shade.

His portraits of the historian Nathaniel Hooke and of Frederick, Prince of Wales are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, as is another painting by Dandridge, believed to be of William Kent.The collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum includes a Portrait of a Painter by Dandridge; this may be the self-portrait he is recorded as having painted in 1729, although the identification of the subject is not certain.