Isabella, Viscountess Molyneux, later Countess of Sefton

Thomas Gainsborough, 1769 first exhibited

WAG 8780

About this object

Isabella Stanhope sat for Gainsborough at Bath early in 1769 shortly after her marriage to Viscount Molyneux. The artist had just been elected to the Royal Academy in London, and this work, sent soon afterwards to its first-ever exhibition, surely represents a deliberate effort to impress a London audience.

The figure has a brilliant poise and the play of light and shade on the satiny surface of her dress is a miracle of virtuoso painting.

Shortly afterwards her husband was made the 1st Earl of Sefton. This portrait hung at the Seftons' seat, Croxteth Hall near Liverpool, for two centuries until its acquisition by the Walker Art Gallery.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Thomas Gainsborough (British: English, born:14 May 1727, died:02 August 1788)
  • Date
    1769 first exhibited
  • Materials
    Oil; Canvas
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 236 cm x 155 cm
  • Physical description
    A full length front portrait of a woman with her head turned to the left. She wears a light coloured dress with a dark shawl draped over her left shoulder.
  • Related people
    Thomas Gainsborough (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 8780
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by H M Government in 1975
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: W. O 4117 / 14 / 6 / 28 W? 1739 / 27 / 9 / 26
    Inscription method: Printed; Ink
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: Royal Academy of Arts 1934 / Exhibition of British Art / Owner / Earl of Sefton / Address 17 Cvill(?) Street W.1.
    Inscription method: Printed
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: TENTOONSTELLUNG / ENGELSCHE KUNST / LOAN EXHIBITION OF / BRITISH ART / STEDELIJK MUSEUM - AMSTERDAM 1936 / 163 / 68 / EXHIBITION OF BRITISH ART AMSTERDAM
    Inscription method: Printed; Pen; Blue Chalk
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: 1208/22
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Stretcher
Object view = Fine Art
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