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Susannah-Penelope Rosse (c. 1655-1700)

James II (1633-1701) c.1685?

Watercolour on vellum | 3 x 2.6 cm (sight) | RCIN 422094

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Susannah-Penelope Rosse was the daughter of the miniature painter, Richard Gibson, and his wife Anne. She too became a miniature painter, and George Vertue records that 'her first manner she learnt of her father, but being inamour'd with Cooper's limnings, she studied & copy'd them to perfection'. Her family was intimately connected with Samuel Cooper's as the parents of her husband, jeweller Michael Rosse, occupied Cooper's home in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, after Cooper's death. Many finished and unfinished miniatures by Samuel Cooper came into the possession of Michael Rosse, perhaps directly from the artist's widow, and were sold in the sale of his collection in April 1723. Susannah-Penelope made many copies of Cooper's work but she also developed a notable clientele of her own amongst court circles, and is alleged, on one occasion, to have shared sittings with Sir Godfrey Kneller. There is no record that Susannah-Penelope Rosse ever travelled abroad, and the miniature must date to the years of James II's reign (1685-8), prior to his exile in France. It has been tentatively linked to a reference to a lot in Michael Rosse's sale (26 April 1723) of 'King James and his Queen' by Mrs Rosse, which in this context may be a reference to two locket miniatures rather than a double portrait. Signed on the left: 'SPR'.