Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A. (1769-1830)
Portrait of Caroline, Viscountess Sydney, head and shoulders
Extensive inscribed on exhibition labels verso, oil on canvas, unfinished, oval, 61cm by 45cm
Contained within its exquisitely elaborately 18th century carved giltwood frame with decorated spandrel. The whole surmounted with ribbon and floral scrolls.
Provenance: Thomas Agnew & Sons, stock no. CM6957, also Knoedler, New York
Caroline Elizabeth Letitia Townshend (née Clements), Viscountess Sydney, (1781-1805) was the second daughter of the 1st Earl of Leitrim, Robert Clements. She married John Townshend, 2nd Viscount Sydney (1764-1831) as his second wife in 1805. Her father-in-law was Secretary of State in the 1780's and the settlement in Australia formerly Port Jackson was re-christened Sydney in his honour. The 2nd Viscount Sydney was Lord of the Admiralty, and under Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord of the Treasury.
The Viscountess sat to Lawrence at the time of her marriage in 1805 but unfortunately the painting was never finished due to her death during childbirth, although the artist produced pictures of an unfinished nature. The portrait cost £45.5.0.
Collections: By descent to her son, John Townshend, Earl Sydney of Scadbury (1805-1890); Mortimer L.Schiff, New York; His sale Christie's, June 24 1938 (Lot 73) bt Lacroix…
Literature: Kenneth Garlick, A Catalogue of the Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence, Walpole Society, Vol. XXXIX, 1964, p.184; Kenneth Garlick, Lawrence, 1954, pp.71; Kenneth Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1989, p.270 (753); George Encil, Experiences & Adventures of a Collector, 1989, P.296, (illus)
The artist was the most remarkable British portrait painter of his age. Born in Bristol 13 April 1769, he was an infant prodigy, taking pencil likenesses at the age of 10. By 1780 the family had settled in Bath. The artist began crayon portraits, prob