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Zoomable Image of Lady Elizabeth Howard (1780-1825) and Lady Gertrude Howard (1783-1870), daughters of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825), both wearing white dresses with frilled trim and wide blue sashes, c. 1790

Lady Elizabeth Howard (1780-1825) and Lady Gertrude Howard (1783-1870), daughters of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825), both wearing white dresses with frilled trim and wide blue sashes, c. 1790

Anne Mee (ca.1770/5-1851)

Lady Elizabeth Howard (1780-1825) and Lady Gertrude Howard (1783-1870), daughters of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825), both wearing white dresses with frilled trim and wide blue sashes, c. 1790

Anne Mee (ca.1770/5-1851)

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Price:

£7,500

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Oval, 3 1/8 in (80 mm) high

Provenance:

Private Collection, UK

Frame:

Later rose-gold plated frame

This double portrait was undoubtedly commissioned by the girl’s parents. The birth of the two girls only a few years apart may have been cause for some celebration as three daughters had previously died prematurely. Their close relationship as children is celebrated in this portrait; later, the girls even married during the same year, 1806.

The two young girls portrayed together in this miniature were the daughters of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle and his wife Margaret Caroline (d.1824), daughter of Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford. Here they are shown aged around ten and seven years old, wearing matching dresses commensurate to their youth...


The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, would go on to marry John Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland in 1799; the younger, Gertrude, married, in 1806, William Sloane-Stanley. After her marriage, Elizabeth played a major role in the re-design and landscaping of Belvoir castle. She was active in managing the large estate and when fire in 1816 almost destroyed the castle, she oversaw the rebuilding project, managing the £82,000 project. Sadly her premature death from a chest infection prevented her from seeing the project, her obituary lamenting; ‘What many individuals would have required a century to execute, her perseverance in a few years achieved; nor was her Grace less successful in the cultivation of the elegant accomplishments of her sex.’[1] Her husband also ran a successful stud at Cheveley Park, his horse winning the Derby in 1828. Gertrude, the younger sister in the portrait, married, in 1806, William Sloane-Stanley (1780-1860), a politician who held the seat as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Oxford.

This double portrait was undoubtedly commissioned by the girl’s parents. The birth of the two girls only a few years apart may have been cause for some celebration as three daughters had previously died prematurely. Their close relationship as children is celebrated in this portrait; later, the girls even married during the same year, 1806.

Anne Mee was one of the few professional female miniaturists of the early nineteenth century. She began working as an artist after the death of her father and continued after her marriage to the Irish barrister Joseph Mee. Many female artists ceased to work after marriage but she continued with restrictions imposed by her husband and noted by the diarist Joseph Farington; ‘[her husband] had consented to let her paint ladies only who were never to be attended [at the sittings] by gentlemen’.

Mee was a pupil of George Romney and clearly an artist with natural talent. Before her marriage, during the early 1790s, she had worked at Windsor Castle under the patronage of the Prince of Wales. Her miniatures show the influence of other artists working in the circle of the Prince, including Richard Cosway.

The present portrait is a particularly sensitive study of sibling affection. Mee’s portraits of children were particularly successful, possibly due to the fact that she had six children of her own by the time she was thirty-three.


[1] The Gentleman’s Magazine, December 1825

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