February 22, 2020 01:00 PM EST Caza Sikes


Sir Thomas Phillips (English, 1770-1845), Portrait of a Child, with Cincinnati Albee Theatre Provenance

A grandiose oil on canvas, full-length portrait of a child wearing a red dress, among a landscape background. With plaque on frame; 54.75" x 32" (sight) and 64" x 41.5" (framed).

RKO Albee collection:
From whom acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence
By descent to the present owner

At a cost of $4 million, the Albee Theatre was considered Cincinnati's finest movie palace. Opened on December 24, 1927, this Thomas Lamb palace was named after its builder, E. F. Albee, noted vaudeville theater owner and a relative of famous playwright Edward Albee. It was torn down in 1977 and a hotel was constructed in its place. Some portions of the theater were saved and are now located in other buildings including Music Hall and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Thomas Phillips was born in Dudley, Warwickshire, on 18 October 1770, of well-to-do parents. After an apprenticeship with Francis Eginton, a Birmingham glass painter, he came to London in 1790 with an introduction to Benjamin West, who employed him on his painted-glass windows for Saint George's Chapel, Windsor. Phillips entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1791. His first exhibits at the Royal Academy, between 1792 and 1794, were a view of Windsor Castle and history, religious, and mythological pictures, but he subsequently specialized in portraiture.

After a period of comparative obscurity in an age dominated by Lawrence, Hoppner, and Beechey, Phillips was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1804 and a full Academician in 1808. From about 1804 until his death he lived on George Street, Hanover Square. He married Elizabeth Fraser of Fairfield, near Inverness.

In 1825 Phillips was elected professor of painting at the Royal Academy in succession to Henry Fuseli. He held this post until 1832, and, in order to qualify himself for his duties, visited Italy, where he traveled in the company of William Hilton and Sir David Wilkie. His Lectures on the History and Principles of Painting were published in 1833. A man of wide learning, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. He is best known for his portraits of scientists and literary figures, many of the latter painted for John Murray, the publisher. He died in London on 20 April 1845.

[Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 184.]


Minor losses to frame, relined over masonite backing.  Canvas was probably backed with masonite due to size, as there are no areas of inpainting under UV light.

Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us