Tuesday, February 18, 2014

EARLY 20TH CENTURY PORTRAIT MINIATURES Miss Ann ('Annie') Underwood (1876-1942)

There must be many miniatures from the early 20th Century hidden in drawers and boxes, and families have now forgotten which relatives they portray and haven't a clue who painted them... and so they end up in auctions labelled 'English' school!
Many of these are often initialled, and sometimes one can be lucky enough to find an exhibition label hidden behind the felt backing pad, which would reveal the name and address of the artist, and perhaps even the identity of the sitter.  It is always best to look!  Most of the frames from this era are the pinchbeck type with little pins holding everything together. 

Faced with this monogram signature,  how many would guess it is AU 1913 with the year divided around the initials?  This is the work of Ann Underwood. 

Although this lady is not a beauty, the miniature is exceptionally well painted, in the traditional way, on ivory.

Ann Underwood lived and worked in Brighton.  She studied initially in Brighton and then under the famously blunt Sir Hubert Herkomer in Bushey, Herts.  Her father was a publican but she preferred the description 'Hotel Proprietor'.  She exhibited at the Royal Academy and Royal Miniature Society from 1911 - c1932.  (details from Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870-1970 ISBN 9782953662511).

A later miniature by this artist, again with the same monogram, shows an exquisite painting of a young girl, in one of the hardest poses to 'pull off', painted on ivorine c. 1932 

The label on the reverse reveals a price tag of £950!  A veritable fortune in those days!!

A few miniatures by this exceptional artist have appeared for sale in the last couple of years - perhaps you have one tucked away in YOUR attic?  

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