Naive oil of a young boy holding roses c1820
Naive oil of a young boy holding roses c1820
Naive oil of a young boy holding roses c1820

Miniature Watercolour of James Barsham Dean


A charming and delicate miniature of this little boy, c 1830's, with a paper label on the reverse which reads:

"James Barsham Dean, son of Captain and Mrs Dean nee Hannah Barsham, died August 3rd 1830.  Aged 13 years"


This sad little note highlights the high rate of infant mortality in the period even for relatively affluent families. This painting was probably painted when he was about 5 and the note added later.


I must admit that when I first saw this painting I assumed it to be of a little girl, given the pretty dress and bowl of fruit.


It is often difficult to distinguish between little boys and girls in paintings of this period, the main distinguishing factor usually being the hair style, and perhaps facial characteristics.


From the mid-16th until the late 19th/early 20th centuries both young boys and girls in the Western world wore dresses in their infancy and early childhood,   Boys were 'breeched' up to the age of about 7 years old., when they were thought to have reached what was known as the 'age of reason'.  Boys that had continued to have long hair until this point, would have had a manly haircut, and would thereafter wear breeches or trousers.


As an aside it is interesting here to note the common occurrence in this period for the child to carry forward the maiden name of the mother, in their name.


In good condition with good colour only slightly faded and one noticeable age spot.


In it's original reeded ebonised frame, and under glass.


Sight:       6.5" x 9"    17 x 23cm

Frame:     8.5" x 11"    22 x 28cm




Ref:  648


Naive oil of a young boy holding roses c1820