Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of Lady Elizabeth Loftus (née Townshend) (1766-1811), wearing pale pink dress with gold edged blue collar and white lace trim, her powdered hair worn long and curling 

George Engleheart (1750/3-1829)

Portrait miniature of Lady Elizabeth Loftus (née Townshend) (1766-1811), wearing pale pink dress with gold edged blue collar and white lace trim, her powdered hair worn long and curling, George Engleheart
Zoom
Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
1 5/8 in (42 mm) high
 
Provenance:
English Private Collection
Literature:
G.C. Williamson & H.L.D. Engleheart, George Engleheart, 1902, App.I, p.115
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Born at Kew, George Engleheart enrolled in the Royal Academy schools in 1769, after a period working with the landscape painter George Barret. Once an independent miniaturist, Engleheart enjoyed virtual overnight success and from 1775 ran one of the most successful studios in the country. He was prolific – his fee book records almost thirty sittings on some days – and his forty-year career maintained virtually the same consistent pace throughout. His careful draughtsmanship and rapid drawing from the life make his portraits some of the most lively and attractive from the period.

Engleheart attracted wealthy and important clientele and by 1776 had already painted George III several times (he would paint the king over twenty-five times during his career). In 1789, on the death of Jeremiah Meyer, he was officially appointed miniature painter to the king.

Lady Elizabeth Townshend was the daughter of George, 1st Marquess Townshend, and Charlotte Compton, 15th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley. In 1790 she married, as his second wife, General William Loftus of Kilbride, Ireland. The sitter’s father, the 1st Marquess Townshend, was a celebrated military figure, who in 1787 was elevated to a Marquessate, and patronised Engleheart regularly between 1775 and 1790. There is a ‘Miss E. Townshend’, who sat for Engleheart in 1783, along with six other members of the same family including her mother, brother and three half-sisters, and we can safely assume that the present work was part of this string of commissions.
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