J.S. COPLEY (attr.)
Potraits of the baron and baroness Von Keller
JOHN SINGLETON COPLEY (attr.)
(Boston 1738-London 1855)
Portraits of the baron von Keller e of his wife the baroness von Niebecker
Early 19th century
Pastels on parchment, 22 x 19.2 cm
On the cardboard applied on the frame there is an annotation, belonging to some of the old owners, reporting the names of the portrayed in Kurrent handwriting: “Urgroßvater Ludwig Fr(ei)h(e)r(r) von Keller” “Urgroßmutter Fr(ei)h(e)r(rin) von Keller geb(oren) von Niebecker”. So we can deduce that the models were Ludwig Friedrich Heinrich Ferdinand Baron of Keller (1760-1835), a German politician who was the director of the district of Prussia, and his wife Auguste Johanne Henriette Baroness of Niebecker (1760-1832).
The two pieces can be attributed to John Singleton Copley.
The similarities between our portraits and other works of Copley are quite clear, starting from the technique itself that is the one favoured by the artist. Affinities can also be found in the use of tones, especially the light blue that is alike the one in the dresses of the ladies of the family Gore and Royal or in the one of Mrs Turner. The three quarter pose of the lady reminds of the one of Mrs Daniel Denison Rogers Abigail Bromfield (also wearing a very similar wig) and of the Red Cross Knight.
Considering the age of the people, we can presume that they belong to the maturity of the artist, so around the first years of the XIX century.