Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Lady Maria Anne Oglander (1785 - 1855) 1820s

Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA (1769-1830)

Portrait of Lady Maria Anne Oglander (1785 - 1855), Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA
Oil on canvas
19th Century
82 x 46 inches 208.3 x 116.8 cm
Sir William Oglander, husband of the sitter; By descent in the family of the sitter to Admiral Robert Fitzroy; His sale Christie's London 12th December 1896 (lot 16) bt Colnaghi; Arthur Tooth and Son London 1898; Mrs Cleme
Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower Sir Thomas Lawrence 1900 p. 153 Sir Walter Armstrong Lawrence 1913 p. 156 Kenneth Garlick Sir Thomas Lawrence 1955 p.53 Kenneth Garlick Sir Thomas Lawrence: A Complete Catalogue of the Oil Paintings 1989 cat. 617 p.247
Royal Academy Exhibition 1817 (190) Lady Maria Oglander
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Lady Maria Anne Fitzroy, a daughter of George 4th Duke of Grafton, married in 1810 Sir William Oglander Bt. of Parnham, Dorset. Whether or not it was intended as a marriage portrait, this painting must have been executed not long after that date at around the time their stately home of Parnam being substantially updated by John Nash and may have been intended for its interior. It depicts the young baronet's wife with the graceful bearing and translucent skin that made Lawrence such a prized painter of young women. The mood of the painting is artfully informal, as if Lady Maria, loosely clutching her bag and bonnet, has just rounded a headland towards us. The background itself is more geographically specific than the artist customarily uses in his female portraiture, and is probably intended to represent the Dorset coast line.

Early records would suggest Lawrence included a ship in the background to further emphasise the maritime illusion, but this has been removed, together with some of the margin which has in fact had the effect of intensifying its striking psychological impact. This unexpected shore line setting, as well as the fact that sitter has not been pressed into one of the conventional poses of''the beauty'' make Lady Maria Oglander one of the artist''s most charming portraits.

As an accomplished handling of the full-length format this portrait can be compared with works such as Mrs John Halkett (Raleigh NC) or Sarah Siddons (Tate Gallery, London).
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