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The Collection  

Artist name:

John Opie

Artist date(s): 1761-1807
Artist nationality: British

Artwork title:

Portrait of Mrs Whitefoord

Artwork type: Painting
Medium: oil on canvas
Measurements: 650x618
Keywords: three-quarter-length seated portrait; white dress; folded arms; red bead necklace

Reference ID: 1624

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More information

Confusion reigns about this portrait. It has been recorded in recent years in SANG files as being by Opie, but all early records give it as a work by Hoppner, a better-known and more expensive painter. When the reattribution occurred, and why, is not clear. Secondly, the title is now given as Portrait of Mrs Whitefoord although early records describe a Lady Whitefoord being Hoppner’s sitter. Thirdly, it is unclear whether this is one of two copies of a master version of which we have lost trace, or whether it is one of two versions recorded as being sold in the first half of the 20th century (see Originals and Copies). If the latter, then this would seem to be the ‘Portrait of Lady Whitefoord by Hoppner’, owned by a Mrs Turnbull, a descendant of the sitter and sold by Agnews in 1908 to a Mr Hirsch for 1750 pounds. A photograph of the work, preserved by Agnews, looks identical to the Bailey picture. The same photograph is preserved in National Portrait Gallery files, where it is titled ‘Lady Whitefoord’ and attributed to Hoppner.

A second, very similar, version of the work is recorded as having been sold in New York on 28 March 1946. A photogravure of this work, recorded in the Scott and Fowles, Parke-Bernet catalogue of this date, shows minor differences between this and the Bailey version, but the catalogue claims that theirs is the work that passed through Agnews in 1908.

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