Pair of miniature portraits, Plimer Andrew (British 1763 – 1837)

dated 1789

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Rare pair of miniature portraits of a young couple. Oval shaped watercolours. Signed for Andrew Plimer and dated 1789. Both beautifully framed in gild and carved wooden frames with bows. Original state. Museum quality pair.

Size: H 6,5cm x W 5,5 cm – frames H 14,5cm x W 10 cm

English school of the late 18th century.

Lit: Andrew Plimer (1763-1837) was one of the most prolific miniaturists of England’s golden age of miniature painting and his work is found in the most important private and public collections. He and his older brother, Nathaniel Plimer (1757-1822, also a miniature portrait painter), were born in Wellington, Shropshire, sons of a clockmaker. Expected to follow in the family trade, the brothers were apprenticed at a young age; but neither of them took a liking to the profession of clock making. The two boys ran away from home (Andrew at age 16, Nathaniel at age 22). Joining a troop of gypsies, they wandered about Wales and the West of England for two years, fully embracing the gypsy lifestyle and earning their keep by painting decorative images and scenery on gypsy caravans. The two brothers arrived to London in 1781, at which time Andrew found employment as a manservant to esteemed painter Richard Cosway. Nathaniel was similarly hired by Henry Bone. Andrew remained in Cosway’s employment for four years, during which time Cosway also taught him the art of miniature painting. Andrew left Cosway in 1785, setting up practice as a painter on his own account. These works from his early period, 1785-1790, are painted in very fine hatching and close together. They are signed A.P. and dated, after 1790 Plimer will not sign anymore!

He remained in London for most of his career, but he also traveled throughout Devon, Cornwall, the West of England, and Scotland. Exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts (1786-1830). He is most admired for his portraits of children and young adults. His portraits of men tend to be more realistic looking than those of women, which often appear idealized. He died in Brighton in 1837, at the age of 74.

Works by the artist in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, MET in New York, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Oxford, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, L.A. , Worcester Art Museum, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas city, Cleveland Museums.

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