The portrait is of considerable local interest as it was painted in Barrow-in-Furness when the artist was aged sixteen, and is probably his earliest known work.

Romney's brother James, born the same year as the artist, became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Honourable East India Company's Service. The painting seems to have been one of several executed about the same time in which Romney explored the effects of candlelight, and these pictures fall within a tradition of such subjects in 18th century England, inspired by the 17th century Dutch masters Honthorst, Terbruggen, and Godfried Schalken. Mercier, Frye, and even Reynolds made essays in the genre, which reached its climax in the work of Wright of Derby.


Miss Romney; Christie's, 1894; Wallis; James Sedelmeyer, Paris; French private colllection.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5AL
01539 722464

Opening times

March - October
Mon - Sat: 10.30am - 5pm
Sun from Jul to 8 Sep

November - February
Mon - Sat: 10.30am - 4pm

Back to top