Lady Gertrude Fitzpatrick

LL 3542


Sir Joshua Reynolds was the first president of the Royal Academy and the foremost portrait painter of his day. Lady Gertrude was the daughter of John Fitzpatrick, the 2nd Early of Upper Ossary, Ireland and Whig Member of Parliament. He was also one of Reynolds's closest patrons. Gertrude's older sister, Anne, was born as a result of an affair between their mother and Fitzpatrick. At the time their mother was the Duchess of Grafton. After divorcing the Duke, she and Fitzpatrick married and had more children, including Gertrude. Gertrude never married and spent her life at the family estate in Nottinghamshire. A family story about the picture say that Gertrude was shy and hid under a table, holding a bunch of grapes. When a footman discovered her, Reynolds said "don't disturb her, I will paint her just as she is". He painted a series of portraits of children from the 1770s onwards which were particularly praised for the way they captured the character of his young sitters.