|Artist||Samuel William Reynolds after Sir Joshua Reynolds|
|Dimensions||Image 156 x 95 mm|
Six small half-length portraits of noble ladies, wearing fine dresses with lace and fur trimmings and different hairstyles. The three ladies on the left, in descending order: Isabella, Countess of Sefton; Maria, Duchess of Gloucester; Elisabeth, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1824) and to the right: Charlotte Mordaunt; Henrietta, Lady Morris; Lavinia, Countess Spencer.
Isabella Molyneux (née Stanhope), Countess of Sefton (1748-1819), was the daughter of William Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Harrington, and married Charles William, the 8th Viscount of Molyneaux in 1768, who became the Earl of Sefton a few years later in 1771.
Maria, Countess of Waldegrave (née Walpole)(1736 - 1807) was the illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward Walpole. Her uncle Horace Walpole helped Maria into society. In 1759 Maria married James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave, a Lord of the Bedchamber to George II and a Governor to the future George III. James was more than twenty years Maria's senior but they had three children together. James died in 1763 and in 1766 Maria secretly married William, 1st Duke of Gloucester, the younger brother of George III, who disapproved of the marriage. The King thought Maria a bad influence on William and refused to believe his brother's marriage was legitimate and sent William away on diplomatic work in an attempt to keep them apart. When Maria fell pregnant George was forced to accept the marriage but felt so strongly that he banned William, Maria and their family from Royal presence.
Elizabeth Foster (née Hervey), Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1824) was the daughter of Frederick Hervey, and grew up in relative poverty in Ireland where her father was a bishop. She had already married John Foster, when her father became the Earl of Bristol in 1779, and resented having married below her improved status. She eventually separated from Foster and gave up her two sons from the marriage, and moved to England. There she met Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, with whom she became very close, but also the Duke, with whom she had an affair, and would eventually marry in 1809 after Georgiana had died. Elizabeth "Bess" had several other affairs and children born from them, but when de Duke died only two years after they had married, she moved to Rome and became a patron of many excavations done there.
Charlotte (née Musgrave) Mordaunt (c. 1752-1810), was born to Sir Philip Musgrave, the 6th baronet of Hartley Castle, and married to Rev. Charles mordaunt in 1774.
Henrietta (née Musgrave), Lady Morris (d. 1812), was one of the daugthers born to Sir Philip Musgrave, the 6th baronet of Hartley Castle, and married to the Baronet John Morris in 1774.
Lavinia (née Bingham), Countess Spencer (1762-1831), was the eldest daughter of Charles, the Earl of Lucan, who was beautiful and clever, and despite her lower rank, married to George Spencer, the brother to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, in 1781. Lavinia was very jealous of Georgiana and also feuded with George's other sister Harriet. At the end of Georgiana's life, she and Lavinia came together at last through their shared interest in politics, and even gave a ball together.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was one of the most important figures of the eighteenth century art world. He was the first President of the Royal Academy and Britain's leading portrait painter. Through a series of lectures on the Discourses on Art at the Royal Academy he defined the style later known as the Grand Manner, an idealised Classical aesthetic. He had a profound impact on the theory and practice of art and helped to raise the status of portrait painting into the realm of fine art. A flamboyant socialite, Reynolds used his social contacts to promote himself and advance his career becoming one of the most prominent portrait painters of the period.
Samuel William Reynolds (1773-1835) was a British mezzotinter and occasional painter. He taught David Lucas and Samuel Cousins.
Condition: Proof. Fold to bottom of sheet, slightly affecting image. Water stain to bottom right corner of sheet.