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Fine Original Miniature Watercolour Portrait of John Braham.
[c.1810?] Watercolour on ivory (extreme left edge continued on to card). Head & shoulders, facing forwards, in a handsome oval gilt mount, glazed. Image 11 x 8cm; frame 13.5 x 11cm.An attractive and very well executed head & shoulders portrait of the singer and theatre manager John Braham. The subject gazes confidently directly ahead, his long dark curls parted to one side, with a fur-collared cloak thrown loosely over his shoulders. It is a fine portrait of a youthful Braham, very much in the romantic tradition. Braham, 1774-1856, was one of the leading performers of his day, with an international reputation and a circle of well-connected friends. His life began in humble circumstances: he was born into a poor Jewish family, and after being orphaned at a young age was said to have scratched a living selling pencils on the street. A chance encounter with a musical producer while singing outside London's Great Synagogue steered him towards a singing career, and eventually propelled him to fame and fortune. His connection with Dickens was established early in the writer's career. In January 1836, Dickens penned a positive review of Braham in the Morning Chronicle, ensuring the singer was well disposed towards Dickens's advances when he requested Braham take a part in his light opera The Village Coquettes. Braham, much flattered, accepted the proposal, eventually taking the lead part in the piece, which premiered at the St. James Theatre in December the same year. The opera, with music by John Hullah, was performed to enthusiastic audiences, but failed to impress the critics, who, Dickens noted, 'blow their little trumpets against unhappy me most lustily' (Pilgrim Letters, vol. I). Dickens remained friendly with Braham, who introduced him to John Pritt Harley, who also performed in The Village Coquettes, and to whom the published version was dedicated. PLEASE NOTE: For customers within the UK and the EU, this item is subject to VAT.
      [Bookseller: Jarndyce Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-11-22           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    


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