James Fellowes is a fairly obscure painter who appears to have worked in Britain around Cheshire and North Wales as most of his sitters emanate from these geographic areas. His style, if all the portraits currently ascribed to him are to be believed, is inconsistent making attributions on unsigned examples extremely difficult. However, in some portraits that are unquestionably by him, his characterisation is distinctive; his sitter’s features are rendered confidently often with an underlying cheerful demeanour and the skin tones often painted with a cool palette of colour.
This striking half-length portrait of a woman in a blue décolleté dress, with russet mantle is seated slightly turned to the right, with her head turned to the left, giving a sense of life to what could otherwise be a static composition. The face is very slightly tilted with an engaging expression. A favourite device of Fellowes was to place his sitters within an oval painted surround, against a dark background, to illuminate them further and draw a sense of presence.