Humphrey Repton (British, 1752-1818) A portrait of Thomas Ivory Jnr. 9.5 x 6.5 cm. (oval) unframed

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Lot 8*
Humphrey Repton
(British, 1752-1818)
A portrait of Thomas Ivory Jnr. 9.5 x 6.5 cm. (oval) unframed

£ 700 - 900
US$ 870 - 1,100
Humphrey Repton (British, 1752-1818)
A portrait of Thomas Ivory Jnr.
inscribed and signed 'Tho Ivory my most intimate friend **oiled in the East Indies Humphrey Repton' (verso)
watercolour
9.5 x 6.5 cm. (oval)
unframed

Footnotes

  • The present lot depicts Thomas Ivory, son of the Norwich architect Thomas Ivory (1709–1779). Very little is known about Thomas Ivory Jnr. In 1756 his father moved into a newly built house on the grounds Of The Great Hospital in Norwich. Thomas's older brother, William, was 20 at this time and we know that Thomas was younger although, neither his birth nor his death dates are known.

    It is likely that Repton and Ivory were contemporaries, not just because Repton calls him his 'most intimate friend' but also because they fathered children at similar times (Repton in 1775 and Ivory 1776).

    In 1762 Repton's father set up a transport business in Norwich and it is extremely likely that Repton Snr and Ivory Snr would have known each other due to the nature of their businesses. William Ivory was apprenticed to his father's business and it is reasonable to assume that Thomas also worked for his father until he left for Bengal, India.

    We do not know why Ivory left Norwich for Bengal, but as there is 'no reference to Ivory in Bengal Despatches [it] indicates he came out illegally'.(1) He was certainly in Bengal by 1776 because his two illegitamate children were baptized in 1776 and 1778 before they were sent back to England to be looked after by Thomas's elder brother William and his wife. As Margaret Carey Evans points out, it must have been an eventful journey for two small children of 3 and 5.(2) Ivory worked in the Revenue Office in Fort William and was also an exporter of rice.

    If Ivory was in Bengal at least a year before his first child was born in 1776 then the present lot would have been painted by Repton after 1775 as Repton's inscription states ' **oiled in the East Indies'. Some time after 1784 Ivory returned to England and he is listed in the Norwich Directory. It is most likely that the work was painted when Ivory returned from Bengal as stylistically it is similar to works by Repton from the early 1780s and came from an album which contained works by Repton when he was living at Sustead Old Hall in 1782.

    1. Margaret Carey Evans, 'The descendants of Thomas Ivory' Norfolk Archaeology 39 1985 206-14
    2. Ibid.

    Provenance:
    The Rev. Edward Repton (third son of Humphrey Repton);
    Thence by descent.

    We would like to thank Charles Hind for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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