Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Lady, traditionally identified as Viscountess Townshend, later Anne, 1st Marchioness Townshend (b.c.1752-1819) 

John Smart (1741-1811)

Portrait miniature of a Lady, traditionally identified as Viscountess Townshend, later Anne, 1st Marchioness Townshend (b.c.1752-1819), John Smart
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 45mm (1 ¾ in.) high
 
Provenance:
Karin Henninger-Tavcar, 1995 as ‘Viscountess Townshend’; Private Collection, Germany.
Gold reeded frame.

The sitter in this work is perhaps Anne, daughter of Sir William Montgomery, 1st Baronet of Magbiehill (1717-1788), and Hannah Tomkyns. On 19th May 1773 Anne married George, 1st Marquess Townshend (1724-1807), as his second wife and they had six children.

Anne was renowned for her beauty and was painted by a number of the leading painters of the day, including Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1779-80 [1]. An earlier portrait of Anne painted in 1775 is illustrated in Daphne Foskett’s monograph [2], and makes a startling comparison with the present work which was painted two years later in 1777. This work is more restrained than the earlier portrait painted not long after her marriage, which shows Anne with softer features and a far more elaborate hair style - befitting for a young lady who has just joined the higher ranks of society.

Smart achieves a subtle romanticism in this work by depicting the sitter as if caught in a wistful gaze, thus giving the impression of a captured fleeting encounter.

[1] M H De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco.
[2] Foskett, 1964, Plate 10.

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