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John Dawes Mather


From Hansons Spring Fine Art and Antique Auction (30th/31st March & 1st April 2017 )

Lot Number: 655

Follower of Joseph Wright of Derby, Portrait of John Dawes Mather, Gent of Spondon (1761-1831), son of Walter Mather, Gent of Derby, half length, wearing a brown coat, oil on canvas, 75cm by 62cm, later gilt frame Notes: John D Mather was born in 1761 and baptised at Duffield 1st January 1762 and buried at St. Werburgh, Spondon, Derbyshire 20th July 1831. He is listed by Stephen Glover in his list of seats of noblemen and gentlemen both in his History and Gazetteer of Derbyshire and in the 1830 Peak Guide as 'of Spondon Gent'. The portrait could conceivably be that of J.D .Mather's father Walter born 1722. He came from a dynasty of iron founders from Bulwell and built up the family empire running forges at Wingerworth, Staveley, Makeney, Borrowash etc. He is recorded as a Gent and merchant of St Werburgh's parish Derby both in 1757 and 1788. In 1756 he was living in Kirkby in Ashfield where he had a forge and at Duffield in 1761-1764 and had in addition a son, Walter born in 1764 and daughter Anne (1756-1794). His connections lead directly to some authenticated Joseph Wright sitters. An old label verso states that the picture was given to Sarah Ann Antill by Dr T.C. Cade purporting the sitter to be that of her Grandfather Condition Report: Label verso states that the painting was restored by Charles Ward in 1929 with the personal interest of H. Cheney Bemrose Esq Condition Report: Label verso states that the painting was restored by Charles Ward in 1929 with the personal interest of H. Cheney Bemrose Esq

Estimate: £2000.00 - £3000.00

Hansons Auctioneers
Heage Lane
Derbyshire DE65 6LS

A Wright find! - 31/01/2017

A Wright find for Derby auctioneer

Portrait painted by Joseph Wright of Derby uncovered in Belper townhouse 

On a routine home visit to a house in Belper, Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers and as seen on BBC 1 Bargain Hunt was delighted to uncover an original oil painting painted by the world famous artist Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797).

Commenting on the find, Charles Hanson remarked, 'It was a thrill to uncover a portrait by a local artist who today is world renowned and some of his paintings can be worth millions.'

The oil on canvas is painted with a half-length portrait of a gentleman who is titled as being John Dawes Mather, (1761-1831), all we know about this sitter is that he was a Spondon gentleman. The painting was executed in around 1783. 

‘The composition of the portrait very much confirms to me it is by Joseph Wright of Derby,’ commented Mr Hanson.  ‘Furthermore, the provenance for the picture is very good, by family descent it was restored in 1929.’ 

Born in Derby in 1734, Wright was an English painter, active mainly in Derby and known as ‘Wright of Derby’. He was one of the most original, versatile, and accomplished British artists of the 18th century and the first major English painter whose career was based outside London.

By the 1750s, Wright of Derby had made his name as a portraitist in the Midlands. This work displays his fluent composition and a firm grasp of character. Sadly we do not know anything about John Dawes Mather although he must have been an influential gentleman in Derby and Spondon in the late 18th century.

The picture which will be guided at £2000-3000 in Hansons Spring Fine Auction on 31 March is expect to create worldwide interest.  Mr Hanson comments ‘ I hope the painting stays in Derby and is purchased by a local museum or collector from our county.’ 

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