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James Inskipp

(British, 1790-1868)

Portrait of a Maja

half-length, wearing a black taffeta mantilla

trimmed with scarlet fringes

also called The Irish Girl

circa 1833


Oil on Canvas

36 inches by 28 inches (40 inches by 32 inches framed)

In a period carved and gilt wood frame



American Art Association - Anderson Galleries (later Parke-Bernett) New York, May 17 1934, lot 44 :​


Half-length figure to half-left of a handsome young woman, wearing a black taffeta mantilla, trimmed with scarlet fringes, and held closely about her shoulders. Background of dim evening landscape. Height, 36 inches ; width 28 inches.


James Inskipp of Surrey (1790-1868) exhibited numerous works at the Royal Academy of London from 1816 to 1864, and also at the British Institution and the Royal Society of British Artists.  A number of Inskipp's paintings were engraved for use in contemporary novels, and his works appear in such historically significant writings as Sir Walter Scott's 'Waverley' novels, Sir Izaak Walton's 'The Compleat Angler' and Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan's 'The Wild Irish Girl'.

Inskipp was "extremely popular, whether in the atelier or in society...the broad touches of his free pencil went well with his open heart and generous sentiments. He had a style of his own, and a very happy eye for jotting down points of character from them, securing a striking resemblence. His theory of portrait-painting was logical, and his practical development of that theory, successful. In Inskipp's portraits the form of the features and the lines of the contour seemed to come right of themselves, he did not trouble himself about them; he aimed at catching the likeness and that was always unmistakable. What is there indeed in the whole round of art so subtle as likeness in a portrait? If Inskipp had lived a little longer, he would probably have been the first to point out that this it is which constitutes the difference between a photograph and a portrait from the hand - or rather the mind - of an artist. In the photograph you have the features, in the portrait, the ideal." (from Mrs. Wm. Pitt Byrne's Gossip of The Century, 1892)


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