TWO PORTRAITS, ONE UNFINISHED ON THE ARTIST'S DEATH Private collection



1. PORTRAIT OF CAPTAIN PHILIP BEAVER R.N (1766 - 1813)
c.1805
in naval full dress uniform, looking to the left.
Oil on canvas
Size 30 x 25 inches


Captain Beaver published African Memoranda relative to an attempt to establish A British Settlement on the Island of Buluma {Bulam, or Boulam} off the West coast of Africa in the year 1792 , but more particularly as a means of gradually abolishing African Slavery

Published London 1805; printed for C.and R. Baldwin, new Bridge Street, Blackfriars

This related to his diaries and observations he commanded the Hankey as Lieutenant on this expedition.

Opie's wife Amelia was a passionate supporter of the Anti Slavery movement and this led to numerous introductions and contacts for them both. It would be inevitable that Beaver, with his publication about a move towards the abolition of slavery, would be famliar with the Opies.





John Opie 1761 - 1807

2. Portait of Captain Philip Beaver R.N ; half length
in naval full dress uniform, looking to the left.
Unfinished painting with only the face completed; a repetition of No1 with the addition of a medal { in outline }. The medal made him a sort of Turkish knight.
Oil on canvas
Size 30 x 25 inches

Literature:
Earland, Ada, John Opie and his Circle
Hutchinson and Co 1911; page 263, as Unfinished. In Opie’s Studio when he died .
Size 30 x 25

Opie's unexpected illness in 1807 prevented the completion of various paintings which were thus still in the studio after his death. It was standard practice to paint two versions of a portrait if instructed and Opie would not have done so without the commission to do so. It may be that this second version was intended for a different member of the family who had himself died young so that there was less urgency for Opie to finish it.
The unfinished one did nonetheless go to a member of the Beaver family. It is important to note that this unfinished painting shows the addition of a medal which is not shown in the completed version.
Ada Earland's catalogue of 1911 does not mention the completed version. Earland was limited in her access to information about Opie's work and it is possible that she simply was not aware of it.