A superb enamel on copper miniature portrait by Jean Andre Rouquet. The sitter, wearing a powdered wig and a blue velvet jacket and waistcoat, displays a fine English gravitas.
The miniature is presented under glass in a high karat (15K or higher) gold case, the reverse of which is engraved with a half flowerhead above what appears to be the initials BEE. Below this is an engraved bee.
The condition of the miniature is excellent, with bright colors, no paint loss or cracks, and no restoration. I have shown several photos of the front and back in order to avoid reflections in different areas and to enable the reverse to be seen more easily. A number of white dots on at least one of the photos are not on the mini itself. In person the miniature is far finer than the photos depict. The size is 1 5/8" by 1 3/8".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Jean-Andre Rouquet (1701 - 1758) was born in Geneva and was trained as an enamel painter there, a city that had become an important center for enamelists. Following this, he was in Paris briefly before moving to London around 1722, becoming a close friend of William Hogarth. In 1745 he returned to Paris where his submissions to the 1753 Paris Salon were hailed as a sensation. In 1754 he was made a member of the Society of Painters and Sculptors, and was awarded an apartment in the Louvre. After becoming mentally ill, in 1758 he died after being taken to a hospital in Charenton.
Because the early work of Gervase Spencer closely resembles Rouquet's, he might have been influenced by him. Miniatures by Roquest are in the collections of many important European, British, and American museums.