A truly spectacular portrait miniature executed in watercolor on natural wafer. This is, by quite a few years, one of the earliest known pieces by Samuel Cotes. The painting is signed "SC" and dated "1756" at the center left. The sitter, clearly a nobleman, is seated in a chair as he plays a mandolin. It appears, from his expression and eyes, that the music is transporting him to some remembered or imagined place.
The condition of the painting is excellent. with no chips, cracks, paint loss or restoration. The grayish area along the edge are bits of the backing paper. The original shagreen case is also in fine condition. Sight size is 2 1/8" by 2 1/2", and the closed case size is 2 1/2" by 2 3/4".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Samuel Cotes (1734 - 1818) was born in London to the former mayor of Galway. He was brought up by his father to be in the medical profession, but was influenced by the success of his brother, Francis Cotes, as one of the leading portrait painters to take up art under his tutelage, specializing in miniature portraits.
Cotes exhibited his miniatures at the Society of Artists from 1760 and at the Royal Academy from 1769 to 1789. Cotes retired to his home in Chelsea (London) several years before his death. Examples of his work are in the V & A Museum.