Oil on canvas
Thomas Harris?; Harris sale, Robins 12 July 1819 (7)?; Charles Mathews
Mathews 183 (artist unknown)
1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (183)
M. Jackson after Anon. Pub. M. Jackson, mezzotint 33x25.1
same plate printed for R. Sayer
Nancy is shown dancing her celebrated hornpipe. She wears green shoes with paste buckles, a round yellow straw hat edged with blue ribbon, and a short white dress open at the front to reveal a pink underskirt over which she has a spotted muslin apron. Her fichu is bronze coloured with red stripes and tied with a blue bow. She has a choker consisting of three rows of pearls.
De Wilde was CKA's tentative attribution, and the picture does seem to relate technically to his other small full-length portraits. It is a copy after the anonymous mezzotint, and may have been the picture in the Thomas Harris collection. The original artist of this design might have been Edward Penny (1714-1791).
For details on the novelty and popularity of Nancy Dawson's hornpipe - a tune written by Thomas Arne and still sung as "Here we go round the Mulberry Bush" - see the BD 4: 237-43.