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Zoomable Image of Portrait of The Hon. Emily Pakenham (née Stapleton) (1798-1875), wearing lace-trimmed pink dress and olive-green drape, seated at a table with flowers and painting, after Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), 1825

Portrait of The Hon. Emily Pakenham (née Stapleton) (1798-1875), wearing lace-trimmed pink dress and olive-green drape, seated at a table with flowers and painting, after Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), 1825

Henry Collen (1798-1879)

Portrait of The Hon. Emily Pakenham (née Stapleton) (1798-1875), wearing lace-trimmed pink dress and olive-green drape, seated at a table with flowers and painting, after Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), 1825

Henry Collen (1798-1879)

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Price:

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Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Rectangular 6 3/8 x 5 in (163 x 127mm) high

Provenance:

Sotheby’s, London, 10 March 1994, lot 45; Private collection, UK.

Inscriptions:

Signed on obverse ‘HCollen . from a Pict /by G Hayter MASTER / 1825’

Frame:

Gilt-metal frame, with later engraving on reverse of frame ‘Honble Emily Stapleton / Daughter of Thomas / 22nd Baron Le Despencer / and Wife of Honble / L.t General Sir Hercules / R. Pakenham. K.C.B.’

One of Emily's sons founded two scholarships in hers and her husband's names at Queen’s University in Belfast, which continue to this day...

This cabinet-sized portrait miniature of Emily Pakenham is after an oil painting in the collection of Drayton House, Northamptonshire by George Hayter, ‘Painter of History and Portrait’ for Queen Victoria. Hayter exhibited his portrait at the Royal Academy in 1826, after which it was engraved by John Cochran and widely distributed. Public interest in this image continued into the 1830s with the genealogist John Burke’s publication The Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Females including Beauties of the Courts of George IV and William IV (1833) which featured both the ancestral history of Pakenham and an engraving of Hayter’s painting.

Emily Pakenham was born Emily Stapleton on 8th December 1798, the fourth daughter and sixth child of Sir Thomas Stapleton.[1] Thomas Stapleton inherited the title of 22nd Lord of the ancient barony of Le Despencer.[2] Emily married Sir Hercules Robert Pakenham in 1817, an army officer and brother-in-law to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellesley wrote that ‘he [Pakenham] is really one of the best officers of riflemen I have seen’.[3] Pakenham was badly wounded in 1808 whilst undertaking military service at Obidos in Portugal, however, he successfully continued to climb the military ranks and was awarded Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1838.

Together Hercules and Emily Pakenham had six sons and three daughters. In 1876 their son, Rev. Arthur Hercules Pakenham, founded the ‘Sir Hercules Pakenham Scholarship’ and ‘Emily Lady Pakenham Scholarship’ in his parents’ names at Queen’s University in Belfast.[4] These scholarships are available to this day and provide first-time undergraduate students with extra financial support over a three year degree.

Henry Collen was born in Middlesex in 1798 and was a pupil of George Hayter from 1819. It was through his master that he became well-acquainted with members of court. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in September 1820, where he won a silver medal the following year. In 1835 he was miniature painter to Princess (later Queen) Victoria and the Duchess of Kent; several portraits of both sitters by Collen are in the Royal Collection.

At the height of his career in 1841 Collen became interested in photography and gained a licence from W.H. Fox Talbot to use his invention, the calotype process, becoming the first professional calotypist in London. This venture did not last long and after the business deal between Collen and Fox Talbot became difficult, Collen withdrew from the practise.

Having studied under Hayter from 1819, it is likely that Collen was able to work from Hayter’s original portrait of Lady Pakenham in his studio. The evidence for this is in the dating of 1825 on the obverse of this miniature, as Hayter exhibited his oil at the Royal Academy the following year. The frame surrounding this portrait miniature was inscribed at a later date as Sir Hercules Robert Pakenham was not knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) until 1838, thirteen years after Collen painted this portrait.

Several portrait miniatures by Henry Collen are in public collections including the Royal Collection, the Wallace Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.



[1] La Belle Assemblée or Court and Fashionable Magazine, January 1827 (London, 1827), p.1.

[2] J. Burke, The Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Females including Beauties of the Courts of George IV and William IV (London, 1833), p.23.

[3] ‘Pakenham, Sir Hercules Robert’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online.

[4] The Queen’s University Calendar, 1876 (Dublin, 1876) p.336.

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