Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Mrs. Jane Kingston (née Knightley), wearing a low-cut dress with upswept powdered hair 

John Smart (1741-1811)

Mrs. Jane Kingston (née Knightley), wearing a low-cut dress with upswept powdered hair, John Smart
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Oval, 61mm (2 3/8 in.) high
The artist; His widow Mary Morton; By family descent to W.H. Bose Esq. by whom sold; Christie’s, London, 15 February 1937, Lot 22 (with four other works); Bought from above by ‘Walker’ (£15); Ernst Holzscheiter, by whom sold; Sotheby’s, London, 9 June 1986, Lot 37, as ‘unknown lady’; Karin Henninger-Tavcar, 2002, as ‘unknown lady’; Private Collection, Germany
Foskett, 1964, p.69, 83.
Haus am Rechberg, Zurich, 1957-8; Haus am Rechberg, Zurich, 1961.
Gilded wood frame.

Jane Knightley was the daughter of Valentine Knightly (1718-54) of Fawsley Hall, near Daventry, and Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Dummer of Swaythling, Hampshire. Very little can be gleaned of Jane’s early life and family, although we know her father was Sheriff of Northamptonshire 1743-4 and later represented them in parliament 1748-54.

On 18 May 1778 Jane married John Kingston (1736-1820), a successful Irish port wine merchant and later M.P for Lymington. By 1772 ‘Lambert, Kingston & Co’ were importing port wine from Vila do Castelo to London and in 1783, presumably following a merger, ‘Kingston & Crump’ were working at Queen Square, Bloomsbury. Given the inscription on the reverse of the present work, which states Jane’s address as ‘Queen Square, Ormond Street’ we can safely assume that it was around this time that Jane sat to Smart.

Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.