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Frances Guise, Mrs Baron, Mrs Wright

(Mrs Barou)

Miniature Portrait Painter
Active 1796-1801
Lived at 33 St Alban's Street, Pall Mall, London


Family Connections

Born: probably between 1760 and 1780. Died 1802.
Daughter of: not known 
Sister of: not known
1st Jean Victor Baron.
2nd John Wright (died 1820).

Frances and Jean had issue
1. a son?

Frances and John had issue
1. John William Wright 1801-1848

References.  We know about Frances from:

Her excellent miniature portraits which sometimes have a card in the back with her name and address and date.

Her son John William Wright 

Mrs Barou (Mrs Baron): Who was she?


Biography of Francis Guise, Mrs Baron, Mrs Wright.

Who was the artist Mrs Barou?  She was a very fine painter of portrait miniatures but very little is known about her . 

She has a small entry in the Miniature Dictionary Guide which was published by Daphne Foskett in 1987. 
This reads as follows:
Barou, Mrs.  (flourished circa 1796-1801).  Of London.  Exhibited at the RA 1797-1801.  A miniature said to be of Charlotte G Walton and signed on the reverse 'Mrs Barou St Alban's St, Pall Mall, No 33, 1801' was seen by Long, who thought it quite good.  Her work slightly resembles that of A Plimer (q.v.) and J Wright (q.v.).  Some of her colouring was reminiscent of that used by Cosway.

Her miniature portraits are very rare and are almost impossible to attribute unless signed.  Unfortunately she did not sign the front of her portraits and so there are no outside signs to confirm her work.  The portraits that are known, have her details neatly written inside the case on a small card backing the ivory base.  These details confirm her name to be what looks like Mrs Barou and then go on to list her address as No33 St Albans Street, Pall Mall [London] and then also note the date.

The quality of her work was exceptionally high so she must have been known to most of her contemporaries.  Her portraits are sometimes attributed to John Wright.

It would appear that Daphne Foskett may have spelt her name wrong.  Although it looks like Barou it is probably Baron, in which case she would have been Frances Guise, who later became Mrs Baron and then Mrs Wright.

Frances Guise was presumably born in England.  Her father was the choir master at Westminster Abbey in London.  She first married Jean Victor Baron and they had a son & lived in France until she was widowed.  While in France it may be that she met Cosway but there is no record of this.  After her husband's death she returned to England and presumably lived with her father.  It is likely that she started working as a miniature portrait painter for the artist John Wright and this would explain why her style is very similar to his.  She married John Wright in 1801 and they had a child John William Wright in 1802.  Frances died shortly thereafter.  She is buried in Westminster Abbey in the north cloisters.  On the back of her miniatures she spells her initial as F for Frances but it may be that she may also have been known as Priscilla.

The Wright family and the Heath family appear to have been closely acquainted.  Mrs Baron painted a miniature portrait of Mary Phillipson (defacto wife of James Heath) in 1798.  Frances' son, John William Wright, later worked for Charles Heath.  

If anyone can provide me with more information I would be very pleased to hear from you. 

The portraits that I have been able to find references to are as follows:


Portrait of a Young Lady 1796
Portrait of a young lady in a white dress with pearl necklace and a white hair band.  On the backing paper is noted 'F Barou 1796'.  Sold by Ellison Fine Art.
portrait of a lady painted in 1796 by F Barou artistback of miniature portrait painted in 1796 by the artist F Barou
Portrait of Mrs Heath, 1798.
Mrs Heath, wearing white dress, fichu, neck tie and turban.  Gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal hair and seed pearl decoration on blue glass. Oval, 77mm (3 1/16in) high.  Provenance: Sotheby's; 1 December 1980, lot 90.  Sold by Bonhams 24 Nov 2010, Lot 90, described incorrectly as by the artist John Wright (British, circa 1745-1820).  However inside the case is a card signed 'Mrs Barou, St Albans St, Pall Mall, No 33, 1798' .  Mrs Heath is believed to be Mary Phillipson who was the second wife (defacto) of James Heath the engraver.
Miniature portrait by Mrs Barou of Mrs Heath 1798, Mary Phillipson. Mrs Barou of 33 St Albans Street Pall Mall London, Miniature Portrait Artist Painter

Portrait of a Young Man, 1799.
A young gentleman, facing right in brown coat with black collar and brass buttons, white waistcoat and frilled cravat signed and dated on the backing paper 'Mrs Barou, St. Albans St. Pall Mall, No. 33, 1799'.  Oval, 3 1/8 in. (78 mm.) high, gilt-metal mount with leaf border and ribbon and tie surmount within rectangular black wood frame.   Sold by Christies in 2002, Lot 176.

Miniature portrait by Mrs Barou of 33 St Albans Street Pall Mall London 1799

Portrait of Samuel Horsley, 1799.
Samuel Horsley, Bishop of Rochester (1733-1806) in ecclesiastical robes. Signed and inscribed on the reverse. Provenance.  R. Bayne Powell Collection. Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1799, no. 719.  Mentioned by Daphane Foskett, Collecting Miniatures, Woodbridge, 1979, p. 188. pl. 43D.  Samuel Horsley published numerous mathematical and theological works. He was Secretary of the Royal Society, 1773, appointed Bishop 1793 and later in 1802 Bishop of St. Asaph.  There is an engraving of this portrait by Samuel William Reynolds in the NPG collection and it states after Mrs Barou but Mrs Barou is not mentioned on the engraving title.  Sold by Ellison Fine Art.

Miniature portrait of Bishop Samuel Horsley painted in 1799 by Mrs Barou of 33 StAlbans Street, Pall Mall, London 1799

Portrait of Col. Henry Wallace Sale, 1800.
Col. Henry Wallace Sale (d.1829), wearing blue coat with black collar, frilled white chemise and stock.  Signed on the reverse and dated 'Mrs Barou, St Albans. St. Pall Mall, No.33, 1800'.  Gold frame with glazed reverse.  Oval, 71mm (2 13/16in) high.  Henry was the son of Col. R.H. Sale. He died in Madras in 1829, his death being recorded in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.  Sold by Bonhams, 25 Nov 2009, Lot 180Y.

Miniature portrait of Colonel Henry Wallace Sale painted in 1800 by the artist Mrs Barou of 33 St Alban's Street Pall Mall London


Portrait of Charlotte G Walton, 1801.
Signed on the reverse 'Mrs Barou, St Alban's St, Pall Mall, No 33, 1801'. Noted by Daphne Foskett has being noted as being seen by Long.


Portrait of Mr Campbell.
Mr Campbell, facing right in black coat and white waistcoat, frilled cravat, powdered hair signed on the reverse, gold frame with plaited hair reverse oval, 3in. 76mm. high.  Also recorded in by Daphane Foskett as Mr Campbell, facing right in black coat and white waistcoat, frilled cravat, powdered hair signed on the reverse, gold frame with plaited hair reverse oval, 3in. 76mm. Signed on the reverse 'MrsBarou, St Albans St, Pall Mall, No33'.  The image was noted as courtesy F Joachim.  The references to this miniature do not mention a date?  Sold by Christie's, 1995, Lot 50.

Miniature portrait of Mr Campbell painted by Mrs Barou of 33 St Albans Pall Mall London

Portrait of a Young Lady.
A young Lady, facing right in white dress, white bandeau in her long powdered curling hair signed and dated on the backing card  'Mrs. Barou, St Albans St. Pall Mall, No. 33' oval, 36 in. (81 mm.) high, gilt-metal mount within silver-gilt frame with split-pearl border, the reverse with seed pearls, locks of hair and gold wire on opaque glass within blue glass surround and engraved border.  Provenance Auktionshaus S. Kende, Vienna, 2 March 1937, lot 3. Gnther Muthmann, Wuppertal. LITERATURE L. R. Schidlof, La miniature en Europe, Graz, 1964, I, p. 68 (qualified as ' typique ').  The description says that it is signed and dated but it does not note the actual date.  Sold by Christie's, 1998,  Lot 165. 

Miniature portrait of a lady by Mrs Barou of 33 St Albans Street, Pall Mall, London.

Portrait of a Lady, possibly Jane Countess of Oxford.
Portrait of a lady (Jane, Countess of Oxford?).  Miniature watercolor on ivory.  Size Height 4 in.; Width 4 in. / Height 10.2 cm.; Width 10.2 cm. 

Miniature portrait possibly of Jane Countress of Oxford painted by Mrs Barou of London

Portrait of a Young Gentleman.
A young gentleman, in blue coat, white waistcoat and frilled cravat. Watercolor on ivory, badly damaged.  Year of Work  Circa 1800,  2.5 in. / Height 6.3 cm.  Sold by Christies, 10 July 2007.

Portrait of a young gentleman painted by the artist Mrs Barou around 1800

Portrait of a Young Gentleman.
A portrait of a young gentleman with a black eye, wearing dark brown coat with silver buttons.  Year of  Work  1805-1805?  Size Height 3.3 in. / Height 8.3 cm.

Portrait Miniature by Mrs Barou of London

Portrait of a Lady in a Black Dress.
Lady in black dress, white scarf and bandeau, min. gilt-metal frame locks hair split pearls verso oval exec.c.1790 Miniature (?x3in).  Attributed to Mrs Barou.  Bonhams Portrait Miniatures 1996 United Kingdom. Lot 119.




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