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Portrait of the German opera singer, Madame Catarina Schindlerin (fl.1774-1776) in 1775

by GILBERT STUART NEWTON, RA (Canadian, 1795-1835)

born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Newton became the first Canadian elected to the Royal Academy of Arts, London


Waist-length portrait, after Sir Joshua Reynolds celebrated 1775 portrait of the famed German opera singer, painted within an oval before a brown background, head inclined to left and glancing to the right, she wears a slate gray taffeta mantle and white cap and muff, with rose bows trimming the cap and corsage.


Gilbert Stuart Newton, RA (Canadian, 1794-1835) was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia where a Canadian National Heritage Plaque mounted on Granville Street reads as follows:

"Born in Halifax, Newton had his first art lessons in Boston from his uncle Gilbert Stuart, painter of the George Washington portraits. Leaving for Europe in 1815 he settled in London and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1817. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1832. His career as a painter of genre and portraits was effectively ended in 1833 by insanity and he died in London of consumption two years later. A friend of the American writer Washington Irving and the Anglo-American painter Charles Robert Leslie."


Newton studied painting in Florence and Paris, and in 1827 was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary Academician. He was elected associate of the Royal Academy in 1829 and an academician in 1832. Between 1818-1833 he exhibited 49 pictures, 27 at The Royal Academy and 22 at the British Institute.


Known amongst his colleagues as Stuart Newton, he was a close friend of Landseer with whom he visited Scotland in 1824 to paint Sir Walter Scott. Landseer's portrait of Scott is in the National Portrait Gallery; Newton's is at Abbotsford (home of Scott) as well as another version at The Victoria & Albert Museum. Samuel Redgrave noted that Newton "over-flowed with self-esteem" and he was known as something of a swell and wit. John Constable classed Newton and Landseer 'with the nobility' because, rather grandly, 'they have adopted their habits'.


The present work was likely painted between 1825-1833, and is perhaps one of the finest examples of Newton's famed mastering of colouration. Stuart Newton's works are in many public collections, including: The Victoria & Alberta Museum, The National Gallery of Scotland, Tate Britain, The Wallace Collection, The National Gallery of Ireland, Harvard Art Museums, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston and The Yale Centre for British Art.


Mme Catherine (Catarina/Catharine) Schindlerin was a pupil of the notable male soprano Venanzio Rauzzini, who likely first encountered her in Austria, and sang with her in Italy in 1773. In 1774, Rauzzini brought her to London where she first appeared as Prima Donna in Armida at the King’s Theatre on 8 November. She was in Allsandro nell’ Indie on 3 December, in Armida again 14 January 1775, and in a concert alongside Rauzzini on 26 January. She sang Guacozinga in Montezuma on 7 February, repeated the part on 23 March, and had a part in La difesa d’amore on 20 May. After a year, she briefly reappeared on 14 and 16 May 1776, singing in Piramo e Tisbe. After that date, she was heard of no more in London.


Three versions of 'The Schindlerin'/'The Schinderlin' were painted by Reynolds, the most famous bought by the Duke of Dorset in August 1776 (see records below). Reynolds painted a copy in 1777 for Mrs. Horton (later Septimus Corbett Goldsmith, Sir A Du Cros. Bt, A J Nicholson 1929, J J Haverty of Atlanta, High Museum of Art in Atlanta 1972, and in 1982 sold at Christie’s). A miniature version was painted by George Engleheart about 1781 and sold at Christie’s on 28 October 1980, lot.85. A full account of these portraits, including the present work by Gilbert Stuart Newton, can be found in Graves & Cronin.

Gilbert Stuart Newton, RA (Canadian, 1794-1835) 'Portrait of Mme Schindlerin'

  • Additional Information


    · Collection of John Heugh, Esq. of Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, before 1878. (Heugh, Balfour & Co. Manchester; textile/fabric merchants & shipping agent trading predominantly with the Far East)

    · Christie’s (London) Important Collection of Ancient & Modern Pictures, the property of John Heugh, Esq. of Upper Brook Street, 10 May 1878, lot 230. Called “Mademoiselle Bacelli as ‘Schindlerin’ by G. S. Newton”. Sold to Agnew 21 GBP.

    · With Thomas Agnew & Sons, Fine Art Dealers, 39/43 Old Bond Street, (1878), by whom sold to Pender;

    · Collection of Sir John Pender, KCMG GCMG FSA FRSE MP (Scottish, 1816-1895), submarine communications pioneer & politician. He founded 32 telegraph companies, including Eastern Telegraph, Eastern and South African Telegraph, Western Telegraph Europe and Azores Telegraph Company, Australasia and China Telegraph Company, London Platino-Brazilian Telegraph Company, Pacific and European Telegraph Company which later became Cable & Wireless. In 1934, Imperial and International Communications, formerly the Eastern Telegraph Company (the amalgamation of those 32 telegraph companies), became Cable & Wireless.

    · Christie’s (London) Pictures, drawings & sculpture from the Collection of Sir John Pender, 1 June 1897. Bought by AHB at the Pender Sale.

    · With Vicars Brothers, Dealers in Works of Art, 12 Old Bond Street London W1 (1930).




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