Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait enamel of Frances Lumley-Saunderson, Countess of Scarbrough (née Lady Frances Hamilton) (c.1700-1772), wearing pink silk gown open to reveal white chemise, 1723 

Christian Friedrich Zincke (1683/4-1767)

Portrait enamel of Frances Lumley-Saunderson, Countess of Scarbrough (née Lady Frances Hamilton) (c.1700-1772), wearing pink silk gown open to reveal white chemise, 1723, Christian Friedrich Zincke
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Enamel on copper
18th Century
Oval, 1 ¾ in (45 mm) high
 
Provenance:
By family descent; Bonhams, Fine Portrait Miniatures, 22nd November 2006, lot 52
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Considering Frances Lumley-Saunderson’s social and financial aspirations, particularly for her children, this portrait miniature by Zincke could not have been more appropriately framed. The top of this portrait is adorned with an Earl’s coronet which traditionally consists of eight rays of gold rising from a circlet, each ornamented with pearls and separated by gold strawberry leaves. This portrait has instead been decorated with a coronet featuring eight diamonds, a superior gemstone to pearls, and the strawberry leaves carefully enamelled in green.

Frances Lumley-Saunderson was born Frances Hamilton to Field Marshal George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney and Elizabeth Villiers, who is thought to have been the mistress of William III. Both of Frances’ parents were influential members of court throughout the reigns of William III, Queen Anne and George I. In 1724 Frances married Thomas Lumley-Saunderson who succeeded his brother Richard as 3rd Earl of Scarbrough, after Richard’s unexpected suicide in 1740. Thomas Lumley had adopted the additional surname of Saunderson in 1723 having inherited the estates of his cousin James Saunderson, Earl of Castleton.

Following both the South Sea Bubble and the entailment of the Lumley Estates, in County Durham and Sussex, away from the family by the 2nd Earl, the Lumley-Saundersons’ finances were unstable. Frances took it upon herself to procure positions for her and her husband at court, as Lady of the Bedchamber to Augusta, Princess of Wales and Treasurer of the Household for Frederick, Prince of Wales respectively. If Frederick had become king then the Lumley-Saundersons would have greatly benefitted from his patronage. Frances also relentlessly fought for her daughter’s untitled husband Peter Ludlow, a prominent politician, to be granted Irish peerage. In 1760 her persistence paid off and Peter Ludlow was made Earl Ludlow, significantly raising her daughter and her immediate family’s social rank.

Following Frederick, Prince of Wales’ unexpected death in 1751 and the fight for Peter Ludlow’s earldom, Frances Lumley-Saunderson withdrew from society and died at Bath on 27th December 1772.
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