Fabulous Original Portrait Miniature By Lady Lucan Of Lady Denham C. 1780
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Fabulous Original Portrait Miniature By Lady Lucan Of Lady Denham C. 1780 :
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On offer is this superb and original Georgian portrait miniature of Lady Denham, painted by Lady Lucan c. 1780 AD. Lady Lucan was related to the Spencer family through her daughters marriage to the 2nd Earl Spencer in 1781. She was an accomplished artist amongst the aristocracy, (at the time this miniature was painted) copying old masters into miniature. This miniature is a copy of an old master (likely by Lely) of Margaret Brooke, Lady Denham (mistress of King James II). This original master likely hung at Althorp, where it was copied into miniature by Lady Lucan during the 1780's. It has the original gilt bronze ormolu frame and incription on the back. This miniature is from the Spencer family collection at Althorp where it had remained from the 1780's until the late 1970's when it was sold as part of the fundraising for renovation of Althorp by Raine Spencer (Countess Spencer). As such this portrait was in the collection of 8th Earl Spencer and would have been known to Lady Diana (later Diana Princess of Wales) as a young girl, since the 8th Earl was her father and Althorp her home.
DATE: c. 1780 - 1790 AD
SIZE: 93mm x 64mm frame ( miniature 63mm x 52mm mm)
MATERIAL: Miniature painted on natural wafer, watercolour - ormolu frame
PROVENANCE: Ex. Spencer Family Collection Althorp. Ex. New York Sale Room, Ex. Art Dealer Israel.
This painting is guaranteed authentic and dates to the period described. A written guarantee can be provided on request. We accept returns if you are not satisfied with your purchase.
Margaret, Countess of Lucan d. 1814, amateur painter—a lady who,
according to Horace Walpole, arrived at copying the most
exquisite works of Isaac and Peter Oliver, Hoskins, and Cooper,
with a genius that almost depreciates those masters when we
consider that they spent their lives in attaining perfection; and
who, soaring above their modest timidity, has transferred the
vigour of Raphael to her copies in water colours—was the
daughter and coheir of James Smyth. In 1760 she married Sir
Charles Bingham, bart. (1735-1799), created (1776) Baron Lucan of
Castlebar, county Mayo, and in 1795 Earl of Lucan. There are
frequent allusions to her in Walpole's letters, and in the
memoirs of Mrs. Delany. Mrs. Delany used to admire and wonder at
her talent for painting, and yet her want of eye for drawing, as
she would often totally mistake the distance between one feature
and another (till it was pointed out to her) and yet imitate
colouring and finish to perfection. Horace Walpole becomes
somewhat silly upon the subject of her perfections, and is
laughed at therefore by Peter Pindar. In one place he writes:
Lady Bingham is, I assure you, another miracle; in another: They
are so amazed and charmed at Paris with Lady Bingham's
miniatures, that the Duke of Orleans has given her a room at the
Palais Royal to copy which of his pictures she pleases. She
seems, indeed, to have been a clever amateur, but of little
originality, and not careful, as the above-quoted criticism would
show, to be exact in her drawing. She spent much time upon a
great work, the embellishment of Shakespeare's historical plays.
Of this monumental labour an account is preserved in Dibdin's
Ædes Althorpianæ (i. 200): During sixteen years this
accomplished lady pursued the pleasurable toil of illustration,
having commenced in her fiftieth and finished in her sixty-sixth
year. Whatever of taste, beauty, and judgment in decoration, by
means of portraits, landscapes, houses and tombs, flowers, birds,
insects, heraldic ornaments and devices, could dress our immortal
bard in a yet more fascinating form, has been accomplished by a
noble hand which undertook a Herculean task, and with a truth,
delicacy, and finish of execution which have been very rarely
imitated. The work was completed in five volumes. The binding was
by Herring, and was considered his best work. The colophon of the
last volume has a portrait of Lady Lucan, with attendant virtues,
drawn by her daughter, Lady Lavinia Spencer. This work is
preserved in the library of Althorp. She died on 27 Feb. 1814,
leaving five children: Lavinia, who married the second Earl
Spencer in 1781; Eleanor Margaret, married Thomas Lindsay, Esq.;
Louisa and Anne, both died unmarried; and Richard, second Earl
Lucan, an only son and heir.
Walpole's Letters, v., Gen. Index
Anecdotes of Painting, i., Introduction, pp. xviii, xix
Autobiography and Letters of Mrs. Delany, v., Gen. Index, vol. vi.
Lodge's Genealogy of the Peerage, 1859
Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of English School
Gent. Mag. lxxxiv (i.) 301, lxxxv. (i.) 280
Foster's Peerage, s.v. Lucan.
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