Menu
Menu
Zoomable Image of Maria Eleanor Villiers, nee Forbes, Countess of Clarendon (1759-1844), wearing white dress with black and pale-yellow trim, large white hat with black trim and black ostrich feather, c. 1785-90

Maria Eleanor Villiers, nee Forbes, Countess of Clarendon (1759-1844), wearing white dress with black and pale-yellow trim, large white hat with black trim and black ostrich feather, c. 1785-90

Richard Cosway (1742-1821)

Maria Eleanor Villiers, nee Forbes, Countess of Clarendon (1759-1844), wearing white dress with black and pale-yellow trim, large white hat with black trim and black ostrich feather, c. 1785-90

Richard Cosway (1742-1821)

Purchase Enquiries

Phone +44(0)20 7499 6818

Email art@philipmould.com

Price:

£14,500

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Oval, 2 7/16 in (62 mm) high

Provenance:

Probably given by the sitter to her niece, Lady Emily Wellesley-Pole, and her husband Lord FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan (1788-1855); thence by descent

Literature:

J. Steegman, Portraits in Welsh Houses, Cardiff, 1962, II, p. 130, no. 54 (at Cefntilla Court, Monmouthshire)

Exhibited:

‘Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph’; The New Gallery, Regent Street (1891), no. 1185. ‘Maria Eleanor Forbes, Countess of Clarendon, d. 1844. By R. Cosway, R.A. (Lent by Henry Weigall, Esq., husband to Rose Sophia Mary Fane (1834-1921), daughter of Jane Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland and Priscilla Anne Wellesley-Pole)

Frame:

Gold frame

Painted shortly before the couple’s marriage in 1791, this portrait shows Cosway at the height of his artistic powers, invigorated by the power his brush gave him to capture the most rich and fashionable patrons.

Maria Villiers, Countess of Clarendon, was the second daughter (and co-heir) of Admiral Hon. John Forbes and his wife, the former Lady Mary Capell. In 1791, shortly after the present miniature was painted, she married her first cousin John Villiers, 3rd Earl of Clarendon. The couple had one daughter, Mary-Harriet (d.1838), who never married...

When the couple married, John was Surveyor of the Woods for the Northern parts of the Duchy of Lancaster (a post he held until 1825) and MP (Tory) for Dartmouth. He was also Chief Justice on Erye, north of Trent. In 1807 he became envoy for Portugal. Maria’s husband was not one of the debaters renowned in the circle of Pitt the Elder, but rather more placid, observed by his contemporary Sir George Jackson as ‘a mere courtier, famous for telling interminable long stories’. An attractive couple (John described as notable in his looks by dint of his fine ‘flaxen’ hair), they nevertheless caused few ripples in the fashionable society circles in which they lived. John’s activities kept him close the court and it was probably through the circle of the Prince Regent, later George IV, that the couple would have been introduced to Richard Cosway, who painted this elegant portrait of Maria. Painted shortly before the couple’s marriage in 1791, this portrait shows Cosway at the height of his artistic powers, invigorated by the power his brush gave him to capture the most rich and fashionable patrons. In turn he produced miniatures which showed his sitters to their best advantage – lively yet refined – wearing the latest vogue in dress and wig.

Similar works