This beautiful miniature portrait, painted in watercolor on natural material, is signed "SH 1786" on the right center of the painting, and also on the reverse as "Sophia Howell 1786". The sitter, a woman wearing a white gown with a lace-edged black overpiece, and holding a salmon colored muff, is posed in front of a blue drape and a stone column and plinth.
The artistic quality of this work is evident in so many ways, from the colors and textures in the drapery, to the painting of the hair, the almost individual treatment of the fur in the muff and the shadowing and texture of the stonework. The condition is without issues. Sight size is 3 1/4" by 2 3/8", while the size of the original mount is 3 1/2" by 2 5/8".
Note: Sophia Howell was active for a relatively short period, from around 1781 to 1788. During this period she was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London as an Honorary Exhibitor. She is listed in the key books on miniaturists, such as Foskett and Schidlof, where her work was described to be "reminiscent of H. Hone and to be of a high quality."