Maria Verelst | 18th Century Female Artist
Maria Verelst was one of the most talented female immigrant artists of the late Stuart/early Georgian era and the present work is an important addition to her much neglected oeuvre. The present work is a recently discovered version of the painting of Anne Blackett by Verelst at Wallington Hall, Northumberland. This portrait displays Verelst's masterful combination of elegant grandeur and refined form.
As well as a talented painter, Maria was also well educated and spoke a number of different languages which no doubt helped her secure patronage. According to an anecdote published in 1730 Maria was once at Drury Lane theatre when she heard some gentlemen nearby praising her in German, and retorted, in perfect high German, that she would not be belittled in such a manner. Shocked, the men continued their conversation in Italian, to which Verelst gave the same reply. The men continued their conversation once more in Latin, to which Verelst responded, in Latin; 'Do you think you have more right to speak Latin than women, isn't it enough that our female sex is already kept outside of public dignities without being excluded from language as well?' Her astute demeanour overpowered the group of men, whom she subsequently painted a portrait of each, and benefited from the men's connections to shape a wealthy and cultured clientele.
To view the painting click here.