The previous identification of the sitter in this enamel as Robert Walpole cannot be sustained, particularly when compared to the portrait of Walpole, also by Zincke, in the Gilbert Collection. Close comparison with this portrait shows distinctively different features, including a cleft chin and almost comically unruly, dark eyebrows (a distinguishing feature in all of his other portraits). Nevertheless, this is a typically well-observed portrait from Zincke’s hand, portraying his rather corpulent sitter with dignified honesty.
Christian Friedrich Zincke was the most successful enamel painter in England in the eighteenth century. A pupil of William Boit, himself the effective successor to Jean Petitot, who introduced the practice in England, Zincke found success so easy that by 1741 he was able to charge the enormous sum of thirty guineas for a miniature. Unlike most enamellists, Zincke painted sitters from life instead on relying on copying from large oil portraits.
Due to deteriorating eyesight, Zincke’s career ended prematurely in the 1740s, although by then he had established himself as one of the most prolific and successful portrait enamellists of the eighteenth century. His work is held in a number of major national collections, including the Ashmolean Museum, the Royal Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum.