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Ref  SD7   Mr Greensitt, An Engineer of the Industrial Revolution

A finely executed watercolour mourning portrait minature set to a gilt mount, early 19th century. The sitter is a handsome young man wearing a powdered wig en queue, brown jacket, yellow waistcoat and tied stock. The reverse contains a weave of brown hair surmounted by gold initials GJ under a knot of hair, in a crystal compartment and within a surround of royal blue guilloche enamel. According to its former owner, the miniature is from the Greensitt side of his family, who came to the UK from Norway and were engineers. The family lived in Chester-le-Street in County Durham. The sitter holds a scrolled piece of paper which provides the clue to his role, it states a depth of  '135 1/2 fathoms' and 'Sections of ... the Restoration Pit'. Fathoms are used to measure the depth of coal mines as well as nautical depth. In 1806 -1807 the Percy Pit at Percy Main Colliery in Durham was extended in depth to 135 and 1/2 fathoms, a feat of Industrial Revolution engineering to extend a pit to such a great depth. This would have been Mr Greensitt's great achievement as an engineer and would be why the fathom depth plays a prominent role in his portrait. The miniature measures 4 inches by 2 and 2/4 inches and is well executed, fine quality and immaculate.

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