Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Granville Leveson-Gower, First Marquess of Stafford (1721 - 1803) 1790s

George Romney (1734-1802)

Granville Leveson-Gower, First Marquess of Stafford (1721 - 1803), George Romney
Zoom
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 inches 76.2 x 63.5 cm
 
Provenance:
Granville Leveson-Gower by whom presented to his son-in-law, Archbishop Harcourt of Newnham, Oxford. Sold Christies llth June 1948(?) Lot 165
Literature:
Treasures of Art in Great Britain Dr Waagen, Supp.p.349 George Romney (1904) Lord Ronald Gower, Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery (illustrated 23rd in sequence at end) .
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The link between Romney and Stafford is celebrated in the portrait of the Gower family now belonging to the Duke of Sutherland. It portrays Stafford's four children, including his step-daughter, Georgina, and is described by Ward & Roberts as Romney's undoubted master-piece. It also includes his daughter, Lady Harcourt, who owned this portrait.

This evidently close relationship between artist and family is reflected in our portrait which shows a distinct warmth and empathy. The sitter had already been painted by Romney in 1776 when Lord Gower came to sit on the 25th of November at half pt. 11, and then subsequently at 12.00 am on the 28th.
Dr Edward Vernon (Archbishop Harcourt) married Stafford's daughter, Anne, in February 1784. The family seat, where this portrait used to hang was Nuneham Courtenay, in Newnham, Oxfordshire.

Granville Leveson-Gower was the son of John Leveson-Gower, first Earl Gower. He was educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford, before starting out on a career in public life. He served as MP for Bishop's Castle (1744), for Westminster (1747, 1749), and Lichfield (1754) before succeeding to the Upper House in 1754. He held posts successivley as Lord of the Admiralty, 1749-51 and in the Upper House as Lord Privy Seal, 1755-7, and 1785-94; Master of the Horse, 1757-60; Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, 1760-3; Lord Chamberlain of the Household, 1763-5; President of the Council, 1767-79 and 1783-4. He was created a Knight of the Garter in 1771 and Marquis of the County of Stafford in 1786.
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