Anne, Duchess of Chandos
The sitter was a chambermaid whose clandestine marriage to the future Duke of Chandos took place in 1738. The Duke made the marriage public in 1744 on the death of his father and his own succession to the title, creating a sensation in London society. The Duchess sat to Highmore shortly afterwards, and this is an image which stresses her newly acquired social rank, emphasising her Duchess’s robes and coronet and the sheen of her dress. Highmore was one of the leading portraitists of the period 1730-1760 and a chief rival of Hogarth, whose senior he was by five years. He was also well known as an illustrator of literary subjects.