Garbed in fine equestrian attire, the present miniature is a marker of the changing status of women in high society throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Women’s desires to have more comfortable dresses in which to ride slowly began to change the style of riding habits, which in turn became increasingly masculine, as is noted in the present sitter’s fitted jacket, painted by Sampson Towgood Roche. George Stubb’s equestrian portrait of The Countess of Coningsby in the Costume of the Charlton Hunt, 1760 provides interesting insight into female riding attire during the latter half of the 18th century.[1] Moreover, the deep blue tones and white trim of the jacket in Stubb’s work mirror the costume depicted by Roche.[2]

Deaf from birth, Roche overcame his disabilities to sustain a successful career as an artist. It is not known who taught Roch his craft and has been suggested that he may even be self-taught. Remarkably, by the late 1770s...

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Garbed in fine equestrian attire, the present miniature is a marker of the changing status of women in high society throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Women’s desires to have more comfortable dresses in which to ride slowly began to change the style of riding habits, which in turn became increasingly masculine, as is noted in the present sitter’s fitted jacket, painted by Sampson Towgood Roche. George Stubb’s equestrian portrait of The Countess of Coningsby in the Costume of the Charlton Hunt, 1760 provides interesting insight into female riding attire during the latter half of the 18th century.[1] Moreover, the deep blue tones and white trim of the jacket in Stubb’s work mirror the costume depicted by Roche.[2]

Deaf from birth, Roche overcame his disabilities to sustain a successful career as an artist. It is not known who taught Roch his craft and has been suggested that he may even be self-taught. Remarkably, by the late 1770s had established himself as one of Dublin’s leading miniaturists, later moving his professional practice to London and later to Bath.

Roche must have had an introduction to the British royal family, as he was appointed miniature painter to the Prince of Wales in 1795 and also painted Princess Amelia.[3] He was eventually offered a knighthood, which he is said to have declined on the grounds of his deafness.

[1] Held at the Yale Centre for British Art: Accession Number: [B1981.25.620]

[2] Further examples of late 18th and early 19th century riding jackets are held within the Victoria and Albert Museum collection: V&A Museum number [T.12-1957]

[3] Private collection

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500 Years of British Art