Tilly Kettle was born in London where he practised as a successful portrait painter from about 1764 to 1769. In 1769 he went to India and was the first serious portrait painter to do so. In India Kettle painted portraits of British and Indian dignitaries and scenes of local life. He left India, to return to London, in 1776 and married Mary, of whom little is known, shortly after his arrival. The couple had two daughters and a son. Kettle struggled financially in London, failing to recover enough clients to support his family. He briefly visited Dublin and Brussels, but died near Aleppo, in northern Syria, attempting to return to India to recoup his fortune.
Portrait of a Lady with a Dog (possibly Susannah Wombwell (née Rawlinson; d1816), wife of Sir George Wombwell, 1st Baronet)
Oil on canvas
height: 209.00 cm, width: 145.50 cm
Purchased from Agnew's, January 1949
Collection of John Calvert Wombwell; by whose executors sold through Christie's, London, 'Pictures by Old Masters and Portraits of the Early English School' sale, on 28 February 1891(Lot 100), for £178-10-0, as F. Cotes, 'A Lady'; from which sale purchased by M. Colnaghi; collection of Mrs Arthur James of 3 Grafton Street, London, W1, and Coton House, Rugby, Warwickshire, by 1948; by whom sold through Christie's, London, on 15 October 1948 (Lot 120); from which sale purchased by Agnew's Gallery, London; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in January 1949
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