An Enigmatic Portrait: The Legacy of Charles Phillips (1708-1747)

Art, at its core, is the chronicle of our shared human history. Paintings, particularly portraits, allow us to peer into the eyes of those who lived centuries before us, providing a tangible connection to our past. The portrait in discussion, attributed to the Circle of Charles Phillips, of Lucy Sotheron is no exception. Delving into its layers, it tells a tale of the illustrious 18th-century society, of connections that ripple through time, and of legacies that have been left behind.

Charles Phillips (1708-1747) stands out as one of the quintessential portrait painters of the 18th-century Georgian era. In a time when portraiture was often the only means of capturing one’s likeness for posterity, Phillips was the artist of choice for many nobles and aristocrats. His clientele list reads like a Who’s Who of the era – from Frederick, Prince of Wales to luminaries such as John Churchill. Though this particular painting isn’t signed, the attribution to Phillips’ circle is significant. It speaks of a certain style and finesse associated with Phillips and his contemporaries.

The subject, Lucy Sotheron, offers a narrative rich with connections. Her lineage, rooted in the North of England, brings together the stories of influential families – the Thompsons and Tindals. Furthermore, the intertwining of her family with figures like Major General James Wolfe, the hero remembered chiefly for his victory in 1759 over the French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec., tells of the broader tapestry of English history that she was a part of.

Yet, the painting’s provenance is where the story comes full circle. The Estcourts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire have been custodians of history in their own right. Their estate, rooted in the medieval times of 1303, has stood witness to centuries of change. With business interests in the bustling city of Bristol and connections that extend to the realm of heraldic entitlements, the Estcourts themselves become a fascinating tapestry of trade, nobility, and lineage.

In conclusion, this portrait, attributed to the Circle of Charles Phillips, is not just a painting. It’s a historical document that connects the dots between influential figures of the 18th century, the legacy of artists like Phillips, and families like Sotherons and the Estcourts, whose stories span centuries. As we appreciate its artistic merit, we are also reminded of the intricate web of connections and stories that are woven into the fabric of our shared history.

Condition: The painting’s condition reveals its own narrative. The presence of craquelure speaks of the passage of time and the environmental conditions the portrait has been exposed to. Its conservation in the late 20th century indicate a continuing interest in its preservation.  It has been professionally cleaned recently and is presented in excellent overall condition.

Nicholas Wells Antiques advisors are available to answer all your questions. 

Please email us or call +44 (0)207 6920 897

Circle of Charles Phillips (1708-1747)

Stock Number: 10825

Portrait of Lucy Sotheron, full-length, in a landscape,
Provenance: Estcourt Family, Estcourt House nr Tetbury, Gloucestershire
  • Canvas Height : 49.5 cm (19.5 inches)
  • Canvas Width: 40.5 cm (16 inches)


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Approximate Dimensions

  • Canvas Height : 49.5 cm (19.5 inches)
  • Canvas Width: 40.5 cm (16 inches)


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