Object Description

Georgina Daniell was presumably named after her father, George, a doctor in Exeter. The Victoria and Albert Museum holds a portrait miniature of a ‘James Daniell’ (ca. 1795-1800) [P.90-1910], who could be a relation of the present sitter. The numerous curls of hair, in different colours, on the reverse of the frame may have been added later, taken from her children.

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The sitter in this portrait wears highly fashionable dress of the early nineteenth century, which was influenced by a resurgence of interest in Elizabethan costume. A very similar example by Plimer of a ‘Mrs. Fuller’, wearing identical clothing is reproduced in Williamson’s biography of the artist and his brother.[1]

Andrew and Nathaniel Plimer were the sons of a Shropshire clockmaker. Together the brothers decided against joining with the family business and fled from home to accompany a group of gypsies who were touring Wales and the West Country – the pair travelled with them for two years.[2] Finally settling in London, Nathaniel worked for the enamellist Henry Bone, whilst Andrew went into domestic service for Richard Cosway from 1781, one of the leading miniature painters of the eighteenth century. Cosway took an interest in the young man and allowed him to train with him; he may have even sponsored Plimer’s drawing lessons with John Hall, an engraver in Soho.[3]

From 1785, Plimer was able to set up an independent studio and exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts between 1786 and 1819. In 1801 he married Joanna Louisa Knight and had five children. The family travelled through Devon and Cornwall until 1815, when Plimer worked in Exeter, and after returning to London, they travelled to Scotland in search of new patrons. Plimer retired to Brighton in 1835 and died there; he was buried in Hove.

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