Portrait of a Lady

WAG 6218


The sitter’s half-turned pose, her billowing hair, the reflected lights in her face and neck, the restless, puffed costume and the pointed delicacy of the lace trimmings, all reveal Hogarth’s preoccupation with grace, movement and rounded form. There is almost a feeling that this is a conscious exercise in the Rococo style. The flat and the rectilinear are studiously avoided and even the oval format reinforces the prevailing mood. At the same time, there is a robust vigour in Hogarth’s vision and handling which is a long way from the delicacy of the Continental Rococo. The artist was in his late forties when he painted this unknown lady, and at the height of his powers.