The Amelia Alderson Opie Archive
Shelley King & John B. Pierce, Co-Editors, Department of English, Queen's University
Shannon Smith, Assistant Editor and Web Designer, Department of English, Queen's University
Andrea Terry, Assistant Web Designer, Department of Art, Queen's University
 
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John Opie frequently used Amelia as a model when he was between commissions. The most complete catalogue of his paintings remains Ada Earland's John Opie and his Circle (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1911) which revises and extends John Jope Rogers' Opie and His Works: Being a catalogue of 760 pictures by John Opie, R.A., preceded by a biographical sketch (London: Colnaghi, 1878). Opie was also painted in mid-life by her cousin Henry Perronet Briggs (R.A.). To date we have been able to locate only three of her oil portraits, but we have included a list of portraits of unknown whereabouts compiled from Earland and Rogers.

 

   
   

Oil Portraits

Location Known

Location Unknown

  • c.1799-c.1804, by John Opie (20x15.5”)
    • “Nearly full face, looking over left shoulder; very penetrating eyes; hair piled high on to of head with band of blue ribbon, parted in the middle and brought down to the corners of eyebrows, partly covering ears; dark blue dress, open in front over transparent muslin; no ornaments; dark background; age 30-35” (Earland).  Bequeathed to James Parsons, by his uncle Edward Opie prior to 1911.
  • After 1798, by John Opie (27.25x35.5”)
    • “A double portrait, that on the left is a full-faced bust, in white dress; thato n the right a bust in profile to the left, in black dress, holding a guitar in her hand” (Rogers).  Given to Mrs. Carr (daughter of Henry Perronet Briggs), by her uncle, Rev’d J. Carr, who had it from Thomas Alderson (Opie’s first cousin); prior to 1911.  Reproduced in Earland; Rogers notes copy at Chyverton, Truro Cornwall.
  • 1798, by John Opie (27.25x35.5”)
    • “Seen to waist, ¾ face to right, frizzed and flowing hair, in dishabille, frilled morning dress, pensive face” (Rogers).  Engraved by Ridley, in an oval, for the European Magazine, 1803.  Given to Mrs Carr (daughter of Henry Perronet Briggs), by her uncle, Rev’d J. Carr, who had it from Thomas Alderson (Opie’s first cousin); prior to 1878.  Reproduced in Earland.
  • 1798-1801, by John Opie
    • “Full face; short hair under a cap; dark dress, open and frilled white at neck; to waist” (Earland).  Engraved “by Mackenzie, small stipple, March 1, 1801 (pub. by Vernon & Hood)” (Earland).
  • After 1805, by John Opie
    • “Seen to waist, ¾ face to right, closely curled hair, frilled evening dress, triple necklace of pearls with small cross” (Earland).  Engraved by “Hopwood; oval, half length, with lyre and flowers, 8 (pub. by Dean & Munday, 1817), and by R. Cooper (pub. February 1821, for “La Belle Assemblée,” No. 145, roy, 8).  A close comparison of these engravings makes it almost certain that both are engraved from the same picture.  In Hopwood’s the curls are more formal than in Cooper’s, but the stiffness is presumably due to the engraver, not the artist” (Earland).
  • Date Unknown, by John Opie
    • “Three-quarter face to right; frilled morning dress; hair elaborately dressed” (Earland).  Engraved “by Hopwood, small (pub. By Matthew & Leigh, June 2, 1817” (Earland – who gives 1807, a typographical error for the entry described by Rogers; Wm. Smith’s MS. catalogue mentions an ‘oval ha. len. with “lyre, flowers, &c., 8, Mrs. Opie, engraved by Hopwood, 1817”’).

 

   
 
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Please address all queries, both scholarly and web-related to: opie.archive@queensu.ca