This pair of watercolour portraits show Hamilton Fleming of the Royal Marines to one and his wife Sarah Sophie Fleming with daughter Edith to the other. Hamilton
Fleming’s portrait is signed and dated ‘Heaton 3. 1852’. He was born in 1815 and married Sarah Chambers, eleven years his junior, in 1846. Their daughter was 5 years old at the time of the portraits and it was likely painted in Woolwich, London where Hamilton was stationed. The family lived at 71 King (now named Kingsman) Street, Woolwich in 1851.
Fleming joined the Royal Marines as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 10th of March 1828. He made Lieutenant 8 years later and Captain in 1845. In July 1846 he became a Brevet and in 1855 a Lieutenant Colonel. He retired as a full Colonel on the 13th November 1858 on full pay. It is probable that the family moved from Woolwich on Hamilton’s retirement as three years later the Gosling family were living at 71 King Street.
A number of portraits also signed Heaton and undoubtedly by the same artist are known, with some described as by the American Edward Heaton. Most are six or seven years earlier in date but stylistically they tie in with these two portraits and the signature is the same. The difference is that Heaton added the month, 3, to the date which is not seen on the other works. Little is known on Heaton although examples of his work are in the National Portrait Gallery and the V & A. He was an accomplished artist and the mutton chops to Hamilton’s face, Edith’s ring curls to her hair and Sarah’s blue dress are all fashionable to the date. Hamilton’s uniform is also correct for the date. The back of the pictures have later family inscriptions identifying the sitters. Dated March 1852.
Each frame size is given.