Watercolour on card miniature of an Indian prince by John Smart, £8000 at Hannams.

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The great John Smart (1741-1811) painted it during the decade when he worked in Madras, where his customers included both wealthy English residents and Indian princes.

Smart’s portraits from his time in India are easily identifiable as he included an ‘I’ for ‘India’ although in this case it is the subject that gives a clue to its origins.

The portrait, painted in watercolour on card, is one of two versions known; the other painted on ivory is in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Given a modest estimate at £30-50 at Hannams (23% buyer’s premium) in Selborne, Hampshire on May 3, this new discovery took £8000.

Stumped by Stump


Watercolour on ivory miniature of Major William Fawkener Chetwynd by Samuel John Stump, £1300 at Minster Auctions.

The early life of the later Georgian miniaturist Samuel John Stump (c.1779-1863) is less well known. Some museum catalogues suggest he may have been born in America. Others say Corsham, Wiltshire.

He began his studies at the Royal Academy in 1796 and exhibited there (mainly as a miniaturist) from 1802-49. He had an extensive theatrical clientele.

The 2½in (6cm) portrait on ivory offered by Minster Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) in Leominster on March 22 was signed and dated to the reverse SJ Stump Pinxt, No 7 Cork Street, Bond Street, London 1825.

His subject matter was the dashing Major William Fawkener Chetwynd (1788-1873) of Brocton Hall, Staffordshire. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, he obtained a commission in the 1st Life Guards and later entered politics, becoming the MP for Stafford.

The panel on which he was painted in full uniform was a little bowed, but the miniature attracted considerable pre-sale interest at its £200-300 estimate. It sold at £1300 to a buyer bidding from the US.