Topic: Artist

The attached newspaper article from the Leicester Chronicle dated 22 Dec 1849 suggests that the artist could be Mr William Scott.

Paul Kettlewell, Entry reviewed by Art UK

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Art UK has commented: ‘Someone else has suggested: John Hollins ARA, Royal Academy 1837 no 462 John Ellis’ https://bit.ly/2TbT1cN
The Collection has commented: ‘I'm afraid it's impossible to say, especially as we are aware of at least one other portrait of Ellis and by yet another artist - we have a print of it, the original being painted by John Lucas [unillustrated impression https://bit.ly/3f4ym2v]. He seems to have been someone who had his portrait painted a number of times. Without an illustration in the Chronicle or RA catalogue we can't say whether this painting is either of them, or even neither!’

Jacinto Regalado,

In 1837 Ellis was 48. The Scott portrait was no later than 1849, when Ellis was 60, but we do not know its date. In the 1858 Lucas portrait linked above Ellis was 69.

Hollins seems to have painted in the manner of Lawrence as late as 1850 (see below), which is not the case in our portrait:


The Leicester portrait seems more provincial, which would favor Scott (although Ellis may have also sat for some other artist/s).

Jacinto Regalado,

If the background shows Belgrave Hall, which is possible, that means the picture is no earlier than 1847, when John Ellis took possession of it. This could fit the William Scott portrait. Compare below:


Jacinto Regalado,

The portrait may have been made in conjunction with Ellis being elected to Parliament in 1848.

Kieran Owens,

Is there anything inscribed on the piece of paper that Ellis is holding?

Also, attached is an image of the gates into what is now Belgrave Gardens in Leicester, with Belgrave House to the left side. The railings and gate posts, with their architectural decorations, appear to be a direct match.

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Jacinto Regalado,

Actually, Ellis moved into Belgrave Hall in May 1846, according to the collection's information. This picture was a gift from a presumed descendant, Edith Ellis, in 1951.

Jacinto Regalado,

Based on his works on Art UK, Scott was not especially good at painting hands, as is the case in our portrait.

Given the depiction of the gates at Belgrave Hall, we can date this portrait to 1846 or later, probably only a few years later, and definitely younger than in the 1858 portrait by John Lucas (post, Jacinto, 21 May).

As such our portrait could possibly be that mentioned as by William Scott in the Leicester Chronicle, 22 Dec 1849 (post, outset of this discussion).

The portrait is not inconsistent with what is little is known of Scott's output. But the evidence does not allow us to do more than suggest that the artist could be termed as "Attributed to William Scott".

Unless further information is forthcoming, I suggest that we should move towards closing this discussion.

Martin Hopkinson,

This reminds me a bit of the Scottish artist John Zephaniah Bell [1794-1883] on whom Helen Smailes published a short monograph for the National Gallery of Scotland in 1990
What do we know of the life of the sitter? Bell was a member of the Sandemanian sect and some of his commissions came from Sandemanians. Faraday and Wiiliam Godwin were members

Interesting idea, John Zephaniah Bell, but not a runner without evidence. I've been back to Helen Smailes' short monograph. It seems to me, firstly that Bell's portraits are more close focused, often with a dark background and taken closer to the subject, apart from differences in handling. And secondly there is no obvious link between Quaker Ellis and Sandemanian Bell.

As to Ellis's life, see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ellis_{LPARENTHESES} businessman)

Kieran Owens,

Jacob, alas, your link is not working.

Martin Hopkinson,

John Hollins ARA Royal Academy 1837 no 462 John Ellis Esq
We do not seem to have much evidence for this artist' s style
The sitter being Chairman of the Midland Railway might have opted for this Birmingham painter
He was a Quaker and painted by B R Haydon in his 1840 World Anti Slavery Convention

Martin Hopkinson,

The 2 Haydon portraits of Wordsworth are the portraits to compare this with

Martin Hopkinson,

forgive me - I should have looked back to the start of this discussion

Thanks for the detail: not as 'railway' as I'd hoped - just his spectacles lying on the table, of which he is perhaps holding the metal case.

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