T05018 A Girl's Portrait ?c.1868
Watercolour and some pencil and scratching-out on wove paper 249 × 182 (12 11/16 × 7 1/16); watermark ‘WHATMAN’
Inscribed ‘May 18’ b.r. and in Mrs Boyce's hand on a label now removed from the back of the frame and separately preserved, ‘12 “A Girl's Portrait” | by George P. Boyce R.W.S. | The property of Mrs George Boyce | 3 York Mansions | Battersea Park S.W.11’ in ink
Purchased (Abbott Fund) 1987
Prov: By descent in the artist's family to Lady Sells from whom bt by Tate Gallery
Exh: George Price Boyce, Tate Gallery, June–Aug. 1987 (8, repr.)
Lit: Christopher Newall and Judy Egerton, George Price Boyce, exh. cat., Tate Gallery 1987, p.44, no.8, repr. Also repr: Tate Gallery Report 1986–88, 1988, p.58 in col.
T05018 is one of a small group of highly charged watercolour portraits of young girls, most of them models for Pre-Raphaelite artists, which Boyce painted during the 1860s. The sitter's identity is lost, the title used here being that inscribed by Mrs Boyce on the back of the frame. The gown worn by the unknown sitter seems to be oriental and certainly reflects the taste for Japonisme which Whistler and his immediate circle, which included Boyce, took up in the early 1860s. Boyce was a visitor to the International Exhibition in London in 1862 when he would undoubtedly have seen the ‘Japanese Court’ (Virginia Surtees, ed., The Diaries of George Price Boyce, 1980, p.35).
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996