Thomas Hickey was a prolific portraitist to the soldiers, civil servants and merchants of colonial British India and is particularly known for small-scale, elegant oval portraits. His style and format of portraiture became a popular one with the landed gentry and was influential amongst many practicing painters of the late 18th century.
This particular portrait is painted by an artist who has clearly adopted Hickey’s approach being both a spirited and insightful portrayal of a young boy. Interestingly the artist has actually pinned the canvas over the panel rather than the more conventional stretcher which perhaps indicates that he was a travelling man undertaking commissions whilst touring the larger country estates of England. This format would indicate his desire to carry many small canvasses in such a manner enabling him to undertake a greater amount of work.