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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Smart (1741-1811), Miniature painter

[Caveat: John Smart (1756-c.1813) painter, exhibited RA 1786-1813 from an Ipswich address]

Self-portrait miniatures:
1762
Crayons, exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1762 (103).

c.1783
Drawing, bust-length profile. Michael Jaffé in 1964 (D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, fig.5).

1786
Half-length oval. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass. (54.935). Painted in India.

1793
Drawing, half-length profile. H. A. Machen in 1954 (A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter, his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, 1954, pp 245 fig.3, 252). A similar, but oval, drawing sold Sotheby’s, 19 October 1981, lot 184.

1797
Half length wearing a green coat. Victoria and Albert Museum (P.11.1940; A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter, his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, 1954, pp.249 fig.8, 254; K. Coombs, Portrait Miniature in England, 1998, p 93).

1802
Half-length oval. Cleveland Museum of Art (52.95; D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, fig.6). A slightly smaller replica dated 1803 was with A. Jaffé in 1954 (A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter: his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, XVII, 1954, p 254).

1810
A self portrait dated 1810 listed by D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, p 73.

Portraits by other artists:
1777
Medal by John Kirk from a model by Joachim Smith, inscribed: JOH: SMART. PICT: EFFIG: MINUT: (A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter: his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, XVII, 1954, pp 243, 245 fig.1, 252; L. Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960: The Accession of George III to the Death of William IV, 1980, no.153, as uncertain date; M. H. Grant, British Medals since 1760, 1938, p 7 as 1777). Probably struck to celebrate the year Smart was elected Vice-President of the Incorporated Society of Artists (cf. D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, p 8).

1780
Painting by Richard Brompton, half length, sketching. Starr Foundation, Kansas (A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter: his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, XVII, 1954, pp 246 fig.5, 253; D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, pl.1), by descent within the artist’s family, sold Christie’s, 17 December 1936, lot 47. Exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1780 (7), identified by W. T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England 1700-1799, 1928, II, p 368. Brompton (d. 1782) succeeded Smart as President of the Incorporated Society of Artists in 1780.

c.1784-85
Painting by Mather Brown, half length. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha (D. Evans, Mather Brown: an early American artist in England, 1982, no.169, illus. p 70; A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter: his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, XVII, 1954, pp 246 fig.6, 253 as Gilbert Stuart and as singularly failing ‘to convey the keen and vigorous man Smart was’; D. Foskett, John Smart, 1964, pl.2 as Stuart), by descent within the artist’s family, sold Christie’s, 25 July 1934, lot 204 as Reynolds. Preliminary drawing in the Scottish NPG (PG 2254; D. Evans, Mather Brown: an early American artist in England, 1982, no.368).

c.1795-1800
Painting by an unknown artist, see NPG 3817.

Doubtful Portraits
Profile silhouette on ivory (A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter: his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, XVII, 1954, pp 245 fig.4, 253, as ‘so unlike Smart’s [profile] that it must, I think, represent a relation ...’; illus. Connoisseur, LXXIV, 1926, p 196); painting called a self portrait, Dulwich Picture Gallery, no.639. Smart has also been identified as the model for the figure of Carmine in Robert Smirke’s painting from The Conquest, exhibited RA 1796 (94), see A. Jaffé, 'John Smart, Miniature Painter: his life and iconography', Art Quarterly, XVII, 1954, pp 250 figs.11 & 12, 254. Unattributed drawingc.1810-20 of two heads (Yale Center for British Art; B1977.14.5999).



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.