Portrait of Louise Henrietta Campbell by Angelica Kauffman, estimated at £50,000-70,000 at Sworders.

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The Swiss Neoclassical painter could count Catherine the Great, Maria Carolina of Naples and Joseph II of Austria among her patrons, while in Great Britain she was one of only two women to become founder members of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768 – an honour not bestowed on another female artist until 1936.

Essex saleroom Sworders will offer three works by Kauffman at its Old Master, British & European art sale on April 4.

One is a portrait of Louise Henrietta Campbell (1772-1829), a full-length but small-scale portrait showing the sitter holding a pen and paper. The oil on canvas measures 2ft 5in x 2ft (74 x 61cm) and is estimated at £50,000-70,000.

The sitter was the daughter of Peter Campbell of Kilmory, Argyllshire, and married to the fierce barrister and MP James Scarlett (1769-1844) with whom she had five children.

The other two works at Sworders are a pair of smaller pictures with biblical subjects from the Old Testament which will be offered together with an £80,000-100,000 estimate.

No written history


A painting catalogued as ‘circle of Angelica Kauffman’, sold for £67,000 at Dawsons.

Meanwhile, a tondo catalogued as ‘circle of Angelica Kauffman’ turned a few heads at Dawsons (25% buyer’s premium) in Maidenhead, Berkshire on January 26.

The oil on copper measured 13in (33cm) in diameter and was housed in an ornate gilt frame. It came to auction from a deceased north London estate but no written history was available.

While plenty of works ‘after’ Kauffman emerge on the market and often sell around the £600-800 range which this picture was estimated in, here the quality of execution, the likelihood of an 18th century date and the attractive condition (it had only some slight retouching to tree and a few signs of craquelure) meant that bidders were prepared to go much further to acquire it.

After strong competition it was eventually knocked down at £67,000.

Kauffman is known to have produced a number of tondos, including a few works which were based on the story of Rinaldo and Armida – a mythical tale of a Christian knight Rinaldo and the Saracen sorceress.

One is now in Kenwood House in London while another with some similarity to the figures here, which was also about the same size and painted on copper, was unsold at Sotheby’s against a £12,000-18,000 estimate back in 1998.

However, a slightly larger oval painting fully attributed to Kauffman with provenance to London dealers Agnews and subsequently kept at Apley Park in Shropshire took £112,565 including premium at Bonhams in 2019. The subject was ‘Electra offering a lock of hair to Chrysothemis’.