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Subject: Rice Portrait of Jane Austen

Rice Portrait of Jane Austen

From: Jonathan L. Roberts <jlro<-a>
Date: Monday, June 23, 2008
I am researching the so-called Rice Portait of Jane Austen, an oil
painting attributed to Ozias Humphry RA and belonging to the Rice
family in England who descend from Jane's elder brother Edward. The
portrait depicts a young girl in a white muslin dress holding a
parasol, and the argument against its being a portrait of the
novelist has partly depended on a William Legg canvas mark found on
the back of the portrait when it was restored and re-lined in 1985.
The National Portrait Gallery in London has dismissed the portrait
on the grounds that a William Legg  made his first appearance in the
London Directories, as a colourman to artists in High Holborn, only
in the first decade of the 19th century, too late for Jane Austen as
a teenage girl. The portrait was relined again in 2007, and the the
William Legg mark as revealed:

    Wm LEGG HIGH HOLBO[U?]RN I LINEN

Has any conservator or liner  ever come across this, or a similar,
William Legg canvas mark on the back of a painting dateable to the
last 20 years of the 18th, or first decade of the 19th, centuries?
There is evidence that another, unrelated William Legg may have been
trading out of High Holborn as an upholder or tallow chandler, and
may have been selling canvas to artists, in the closing years of the
18th century.

Jonathan L Roberts
Wall Farm
Broadwindsor
Beaminster
Dorset DT8 3LB
+44 1308 867358


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:2
                   Distributed: Monday, June 23, 2008
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Received on Monday, 23 June, 2008

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