Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Queen Charlotte (1744-1818)
This miniature of Queen Charlotte shows her wearing the progressively rising hairstyle of the early 1770s and may be the portrait painted for her sister-in-law, Princess Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in 1772. Jeremiah Meyer, the artist, began using larger ivory supports at this time, to cater for the fashion for high hairstyles. The quality of his work can be seen here in his linear precision (visible particularly in the hair), smooth modelling and sophisticated colouring. The delicate lace at the neckline has been painted with opaque white highlights. There is a preliminary pencil and watercolour sketch in an album of works by Meyer and his family in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Jeremiah Meyer (1735-89) was born in Germany and his father was portrait painter to the Duke of Württemberg. He came to England about 1749 and studied under the artist Christian Friedrich Zincke. Meyer was commissioned to paint the King’s miniature portrait, set in an oval of diamonds in the pearl bracelet given to Princess Charlotte as an engagement present. He also drew the King’s profile for the new coinage which earned him a gold medal from the Society of Arts in 1761. He was appointed Miniature Painter to the Queen and Enamel Painter to the King in 1764. A founder member of the Royal Academy, he exhibited miniatures, enamels and watercolour drawings from 1769 to 1783. When he died, according to a contemporary, Charlotte Papendiek, Meyer’s widow sent his remaining miniatures, including portraits of the royal family, to the sitters without making a charge. The Queen was so pleased that ‘she liberally rewarded Mrs Meyer for her honourable conduct’.
Catalogue entry adapted from Masterpieces in Little: Portrait Miniatures from the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen (1992) and George III and Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste (2004).
W. Hatfield & Sons Ltd. : London (frame maker)