John Singer Sargent, a renowned portrait painter, painted a portrait of his childhood friend Fanny Watts in 1877. The painting, titled “Portrait of Frances Sherborne Ridley Watts,” was his first to be exhibited at the Salon, a prestigious juried art exhibition in Paris. The oil on canvas painting measures 105.9cm x 81.3cm and currently resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection.
Fanny Watts was part of a small group of children of expatriates that included Sargent, his sister Emily, Violet Paget, and Ben del Castillo. In the portrait, she is depicted with luscious skin tones and subtle plays of light that Sargent was famous for during his career. He used feathery brushwork to create an intricate texture that embodied Fanny’s delicate features.