Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait minature of Abigail Baker-Holroyd (née Way), later Lady Sheffield of Dunamore and Roscommon (d.1793), 1769

John Smart (1741-1811)

Portrait minature of Abigail Baker-Holroyd (née Way), later Lady Sheffield of Dunamore and Roscommon (d.1793),, John Smart
Zoom
Watercolour
18th Century
Oval, 38mm (1 1/2 in.) high
 
Provenance:
Sotheby’s, London, 11 November 1993, lot.12; Karin Henninger-Tavcar, 1994; Private Collection, Germany.
Literature:
Possibly D. Foskett, John Smart, The Man and his Miniatures, London, 1964, p.75.
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Abigail was the daughter of Lewis Way (1698-1771) of Richmond, a director of the South Sea Company, and his third wife Abigail Lockey (d.1753). In 1767 Abigail married John Holroyd (1735-1821) who in 1768, following the death of his older brother, inherited the vast estates of his uncle Rev. Jones Baker, at which point he assumed the name ‘Baker’. In 1781 John Baker-Holroyd was created a Peer of Ireland as Baron Sheffield of Dunamore, and later in 1783, Baron of Roscommon.

Lady Sheffield was very charitable and donated generously to a number of causes during the French Revolutionary Wars, including a fund for the relief of the widows and children of deceased English soldiers and seamen. She also gave financial support to the French refugees who had fled to England during the war.

Lady Sheffield died in Downing Street on 1st April 1793 of pleurisy and was buried near her husband’s estate in Fletching, Sussex.

This work was painted in 1769, just after Abigail’s unexpected rise to the higher echelons of society. Interestingly, Smart also painted another portrait of Abigail in the same year although with the addition of a lace ruff around her neck.
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