Historical Portraits Picture Archive

A Lady, probably Elizabeth (née Wriothesley), Duchess of Montagu when Countess of Northumberland (1646-90), wearing dark blue dress over white chemise, a mauve and gold cloak over her shoulder, pearls at her neck and large drop pearl earrings 

Mrs Susan Penelope Rosse (b.c.1655-1700)

A Lady, probably Elizabeth (née Wriothesley), Duchess of Montagu when Countess of Northumberland (1646-90), wearing dark blue dress over white chemise, a mauve and gold cloak over her shoulder, pearls at her neck and large drop pearl earrings, Mrs Susan Penelope Rosse
Zoom
Watercolour on vellum, laid onto table book leaf
17th Century
Oval, 61mm (2 3/8 in.) high
 
Provenance:
Daphne Foskett Collection no.297 (acquired before 1974).
Literature:
D. Foskett, Collecting Miniatures (London 1979), pp. 126-7, pl. 25F; D. Foskett, Samuel Cooper and his Contemporaries (London 1974), p.102 (illus.); S. Lloyd, Portrait Miniatures from the Daphne Foskett Collection (Edinburgh 2003), cat.7, p.67.
Exhibited:
National Portrait Gallery, London, Samuel Cooper and his Contemporaries (Exhib.), London, 1974, no.194.
To view portrait miniatures by Rosse currently for sale at Philip Mould & Co, please go to www.philipmould.com.


This portrait miniature is set in hinged shagreen case with pin work, the interior lined with patterned silk.

The daughter of the miniature painter Richard Gibson, Rosse is best known for her copies of the works of her neighbour, Samuel Cooper. She was praised by George Vertue ‘as by these may bee seen; nobody ever copy’d him better’. A talented artist, she did not need to work for a living, but produced portraits of family and friends that serve as an intimate record of her life. Many of her connections to artists and sitters came through her parents, who were famous at court not only for their artistic talents but also for their small stature.

The present portrait miniature by Rosse has been preserved in its original green case. The hinged lids open to reveal both the miniature and its reverse and inscribed into the gessoed verso is the sitter’s name. This was assumed to state that the sitter was Elizabeth Howard, Countess of Northumberland (d.1704/5), who was married in 1642 to Algernon, 10th Earl of Northumberland (1602-1668) as his second wife. The same sitter was painted by Samuel Cooper (1607/8-1672), probably on the occasion of her marriage, and remains in the collection at Burghley House. However, given the probable dating of circa 1670, the sitter in this portrait is more likely to be Elizabeth Wriothesley, who became Countess of Howard upon her marriage to Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland (1644-1670).

Elizabeth Wriothesley was painted by Sir Peter Lely as one of the ‘Windsor Beauties’ and this portrait was later copied in miniature by Charles Beale. If this portrait by Rosse does indeed represent Elizabeth Wriothesley, it would be a typical subject for the artist. Rosse appears to have been fascinated by the beauties at court, particularly those who were mistress to Charles II. The same sitter is possibly also the subject of a miniature by Richard Gibson (1615-1690), father of Susannah-Penelope Rosse, in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The technique of this miniature is extremely close to that used by Gibson, who presumably played a central role in his daughter’s artistic training. Although this miniature would appear The image, which at present would appear to relate to no other known painting, may be an ad vivum portrait, confirming Rosse’s ease in court circles.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.