George Henry Harlow 1787-1819. English School early 19th.Century. Portrait of Dame Catherine "Kitty" Bolton 1781-1857. Oil on canvas on wooden stretcher 35 by 52 cms. 46 by 63.5 cms overall in frame. Old reline, small area of retouching upper centre left. Auction stencil to stretcher probably that of Christies. Provenance: Private collection UK.
Kitty Bolton was born at Wells-next-the-Sea Norfolk, daughter of Susannah Bolton, the sister of Admiral Horatio Nelson. She married her first cousin Captain Sir William Bolton on 18th May 1803 at the Piccadilly home of Emma Hamilton. Nelson's sister Charlotte (later Duchess of Brontë) and Emma's daughter Emma Carew were witnesses. Kitty is depicted here in what is probably her wedding gown she wears Neapolitan coral bracelets and an unusual coral wedding ring, perhaps a gift from Lady Hamilton and Nelson, recently returned from Naples.
Born and raised in London, George Henry Harlow entered Sir Thomas Lawrence's studio in 1803, and began exhibiting at the Royal Academy the following year. Precocious and prodigiously productive, Harlow had great success with portraits and theatrical subjects much in the manner of Lawrence, he died at the early age of thirty-one in 1819.