Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pencil on vellum, oval
  • 4 ⅛ × 3 ⅛ inches · 105 × 80 mm
  • Drawn in 1704


  • Mrs Felton Matthew;
  • Mrs Agatha Thorneycroft, 1890;
  • Mrs Robert Tritton;
  • Tritton sale, Christie’s, London, 12 July 1983, lot 533;
  • Colin Hunter;
  • Hunter sale, Sotheby’s, London 11 July 1991, lot 31


  • London, Sotheby’s, Childhood: A Loan Exhibition of Works of Art, 1988, no. 94.

This rare portrait of a toddler is by the foremost exponent of the plumbago portrait, Thomas Forster. The sitter's father, George St Lo, was appointed Resident Commissioner at Chatham in 1703 and remained in that post until 1712. He sat as an MP from 1705 and was an equerry to Prince George of Denmark from 1700 to circa 1704. Thomas Forster drew George St Lo in 1704 (now in the British Museum) and, as Forster's other portraits of the immediate family are dated 1704-5, this portrait too was doubtless made at about the same time.[1]

Forster alludes to the profession of the baby's father by placing the child on a large anchor, and John St Lo seems to have followed his father into the navy, for a John St Lo was commanding the ship Ludlow Castle in 1724; the 20-gun Phoenix in 1731, the 80-gun Princess Ameila in 1742 and the 90-gun Princess Royal in 1744.[2] In 1747 John St Low was named a Rear-Admiral.[3]


  1. Forster's portrait of George St Lo is British Museum, museum no.1890, 0512.81. There is also an engraving of St Lo by Joseph Nutting, museum no.1864,0813.1240. Other family portraits were sold at Christie's, 12-13 July 1983, lots 530-4. 
  2. Daily Courant, 28 November 1724; London Evening Post, 23 November 1731; London Magazine (1742), p.362; Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1603-1714, London 2009, p.39. 
  3. London Evening Post, 25 July 1747.