Philip Mercier

A Girl Sewing


Not on display

Philip Mercier ?1689–1760
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 760 × 635 mm
Purchased 1965

Catalogue entry

T00759 A Girl Sewing c. 1750

Oil on canvas 760×635 (30×25)
Inscribed ‘PM.’ in monogram lower left
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1965
PROVENANCE ...; Dr Robert Jaimeson; his grand-niece, Mrs Gertrude Bell; anon. sale, Sotheby's 9 December 1964 (114, as ‘H. Morland, The Sewing Lesson’) bt Sidney Sabin; bt by the Tate Gallery from Sabin Galleries
EXHIBITED York and Kenwood 1969 (Addenda, 73, repr.)
LITERATURE Ingamells & Raines 1978, p.53, no.227

T00759 is typical of the ‘innocent anecdotal subjects’ on which, as Ingamells and Raines point out, Mercier deliberately concentrated, with his eye on the print market, after his loss of the Prince's favour in 1736. Many of his fancy pictures were engraved in series, such as the ages, seasons, elements, senses, times of day and scenes of domestic occupations or amusements. A ‘Sewing’ picture was engraved by J.S. Negges, as one of a set of four 1755–60, the others depicting ‘Washing’, ‘Knitting’ and (though not after Mercier) ‘Reading’; the print shows the young woman who is sewing wearing a shawl and mob cap (Ingamells and Raines 1978, no.150: the original painting is lost). Another ‘Girl Sewing’, 1875×1525 (75×61), is dated by Ingamells and Raines to c. 1750 (no.166); they have not identified which picture Mercier exhibited as ‘A Girl Sewing’ at the Society of Art, Manufactures and Commerce (34) in 1760, the year of his death.

Published in:
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988


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