A portrait miniature of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Davis (born 1763)William Wood (British, 1769-1810) at Jethro Marles

A portrait miniature of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Davis (born 1763) by William Wood (British, 1769-1810) Consigned with Jethro Marles Sold by Auction in London

Sold at auction in London September 2023

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William Wood (British, 1769-1810)
A portrait miniature of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Davis (born 1763), wearing the uniform of the Light Dragoons, his French Grey coatee with silver lace and buttons, his red collar outlined with silver, his white leather shoulder belt secured with a silver lace shoulder cord.
Watercolour on ivory, signed on the reverse, By/ Will: Wood/ of Cork Strt,/ Lond. and inscribed beneath, now/ dead, backed with card signed, E W Thomson/ Miniature Painter/ New Bond Street/ Enquire at Mr Orme’s Print Seller, gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal a ground of plaited brown hair within a surround of plaited blond hair.
Oval, 85mm (3 3/8in) high


Sold Bonhams, London, 23 November 2005, lot 94

William Wood, Memorandum of Miniatures Painted and Finished by William Wood, 1790-1808, vol.III, folio 5824 or 5830

William Wood produced two portrait miniatures of Davis in 1801. The first finished on 14 February and delivered on 22nd February (costing £5 and £5/10/- for the frame). The second began on 15 February, finished on 21 February and delivered on 28 February (costing £10/10/- presumably for both miniature and frame). Both miniatures were framed by Flower. The overlapping time frame of the two miniatures implies that Wood was commissioned right from the beginning to paint two versions. In his fee book, Wood describes the sitter as, ‘about 38 years old, shows chiefly right side and looking on’.

In this portrait miniature, Henry Davis is wearing his Lieutenant Colonel uniform – a rank he obtained in the 25th Light Dragoons in January 1800. In May of the same year he was promoted to Major. In June 1799 Colonel Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, raised a military force in the north of Mysore, comprising the 25th Light Dragoons and the 73rd and 77th Regiments of Foot. Details of Lieutenant Colonel Davis’ military history are limited but it is fair to assume, he served as part of this operation. The regiment disbanded in 1819, when the 25th Light Dragoons returned to Portsmouth on HMS Mangles from Madras.