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18th Century English Pastel Portrait Of The Countess Poulett By Sir Thomas Lawrence


"18th Century English Pastel Portrait Of The Countess Poulett By Sir Thomas Lawrence"
A pastel portrait of the Dowager Countess Margaret Poulett (1744-1838) by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830).
Oval, pastel on paper 29.5 x 24cm (excluding frame), in an ornate giltwood and gesso frame with a coronet crest, circa 1785. Inscription on reverse ' Portrait in crayons by Sir Thomas Lawrence of the Dowr. Countess Poulett'.
This is a rare and early work in Lawrence's career who as a child prodigy began working as a youth in pastels, moving on to work almost exclusively in oils after 1790.

Provenance:
Major W. A. Burges, Catsfield Manor, East Sussex in 1956.
Private collection, East Sussex

Margaret (born Burges) was the daughter of Ynyr Burges and Margaret Brown. She became the wife of Sir john Smith-Burges, 1st Baronet in 1771 and later after his death the wife of John, 4th Earl Poulett whom she married in 1816. During her first marriage, Margaret was a regular visitor to Bath and very likely sat for the young Lawrence whilst he was living there.

Thomas Lawrence was born the son of an innkeeper who moved the family to Bath in 1779. His father, recognising his son's talent from an early age, advertised his services as a portraitist in the Bath Journal; 'Master Lawrence continues to take very striking Likenesses of Ladies and Gentlemen in the most pleasing attitudes, either in pencil or crayons'. The large number of potential sitters who had come to Bath 'for the season' or to 'take the waters' helped to support the family with a steady income and the child prodigy became very popular with aristocrats and the famous and wealthy. Hi sitters in Bath included Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and the actress Sarah Siddons.

Whilst still a teenager in Bath, he moved from pencil to pastel and was highly likely to have been influenced or taught by Bath artist William Hoare. In 1787 Lawrence moved from Bath to London and was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools, exhibiting in his first year seven pictures which were probably all pastels. From then on he began working in oils and had stopped working in pastels by around 1790 when he was 21 years old. In 1789 he was commissioned to paint Queen Charlotte, the wife of the ailing George III and mother of the Prince Regent. By 1792, he had been appointed official painter to the King and two years later, was elected a Royal Academician.

Literature:
Neil Jeffares, 'Dictionary of pastellists before 1800', online edition, reference for this portrait with image featured under 'Lawrence, Sir Thomas' page 10.
Price : $16,000
Artist : Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
Period: 18th century
Style: Georgian
Condition : Good, ready to hang condition

Material : Pastel on paper
Width : 53cm (21in)
Height : 64cm (25in)

Reference : 918
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