Philip Wickstead (died circa 1790)
A portrait of the family of James Henry of Jamaica (1732-1787) and his wife Elizabeth née Jones, their six children James, John William, Edward, Elizabeth and Josiah, their maternal grandmother Catherine Jones and their tutor
All full length seated in an interior, a view of their estate called Southfield in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica beyond
Oil on canvas, in the original 18th Century Jamaican frame
123 x 99cm; 44½ x 39in
This impressive family group is undoubtedly one of the most elaborate works that Wickstead produced in his career and certainly one of only a few on this scale to have survived from his time in Jamaica. He was there for 17 years and unfortunately much of his work from this time was destroyed in the great hurricane of 1780. It has been in the collection of the Henry family and their descendants since it was painted.
Wickstead trained under Zoffany, however his work is closer in style to that of Arthur Devis, who also
specialised in the conversation piece and who often depicted similar slim elegant sitters. He went out to Jamaica in 1773 with the landscape painter George Robertson, under the patronage of William Beckford of Somerley, who owned large sugar plantations in Westmoreland Parish. He stayed in Jamaica for the rest of his life and in the 1780's, after a failed attempt at being a planter, he took to drink and died around 1790.
The Henry's were Lowland Scots who became prosperous merchants. After the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745/6 James Henry, a surgeon and physician by training, depicted on the right of the picture, set out for the New World. He is recorded as living in Jamaica by 1767. He married the daughter of a wealthy widow, and he accumulated considerable wealth. His eldest son James Henry shown seated at the left hand end of the table was a Captain in the St. Ann's Militia Regiment at the time of his father's death in 1787. He was the only one of the four brothers to marry and produce heirs and it is through his line that the picture has been passed down through the generations.
James Henry (1732-1787)
James Henry (1765-1807)
James Henry (1802-1877)
James Henry (1836-1916)
Elsie Beatrice Sharp neé Henry 1879-1952)
Basil Telford Sharp (1917-1988) who gave it to the present owner, a direct descendant of the Henry family
In good condition
Estimate: £10,000 - 15,000
Hammer Price £10,000