Richard Cosway, RA (British, 1742-1821) Jane, Duchess of Gordon (1748-1812), wearing white dress with winged collar secured around her neck with a strand of pearls, pearl pendent earrings, powdered wig
Lot 106Y
Richard Cosway, RA
(British, 1742-1821)
Jane, Duchess of Gordon (1748-1812), wearing white dress with winged collar secured around her neck with a strand of pearls, pearl pendent earrings, powdered wig
Sold for £25,000 (US$ 42,479) inc. premium
Auction Details
Richard Cosway, RA (British, 1742-1821) Jane, Duchess of Gordon (1748-1812), wearing white dress with winged collar secured around her neck with a strand of pearls, pearl pendent earrings, powdered wig
Lot Details
Richard Cosway, RA (British, 1742-1821)
Jane, Duchess of Gordon (1748-1812), wearing white dress with winged collar secured around her neck with a strand of pearls, pearl pendent earrings, powdered wig.
Gold frame, blue glass border to the reverse surrounding a gold-mounted aperture, glazed to reveal a ducal coronet in gold and red enamel above the name Jane in gold, set on plaited hair.
Oval, 66mm (2 5/8in) high
Provenance: Dr J. Lumsden Propert M.D. (no.123), Gloucester Place, Portman Square, London (1887)
J. Pierpont Morgan
J. Pierpont Morgan Collection; Christie's, London, 24-27 June 1935, lot 273, sold to Law for £173.5s
Broomhill House, Grantown-on-Spey
Literature: J.L. Propert, A History of Miniature Art, 1887, ill. p.115
G.C. Williamson, Richard Cosway, R.A. and Wife and Pupils: Miniaturists of the Eighteenth Century, 1897, p.116, ill.opp. p.79
G.C. Williamson, Richard Cosway, R.A., 1905, p.110, ill.opp. p.96
G.C. Williamson, Catalogue of the Collection of Miniatures the Property of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906-8, vol.II, p.54, no.266, pl. LXXXVI

Footnotes

  • Jane, was the daughter of Sir William Maxwell, 3rd Bt. of Monreith, Wigtownshire, and his wife Magdalene, daughter of William Blair of Blair. As a child she was reputed to have ridden on the back of a pig up and down Edinburgh's High Street.

    In 1767 she married Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon (1743-1827); despite a tempestuous and unfaithful marriage, together they had seven children: George, who succeeded his father as 5th Duke one further son and five daughters (three whom married Dukes and one a Marquess).

    Her salon in London, until the collapse of her marriage in 1793, became an essential meeting place for the Tory political elite and both William Pitt and Henry Dundas became her friends. Lively and quick-witted, she was a noted conversationalist. The political commentator Nathaniel Wraxall wrote in 1836: 'few women have performed a more conspicuous part, or occupied a higher place... on the public theatre of fashion, politics and dissipation' (Christine Lodge, Jane, Duchess of Gordon, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, article 11059). In later life she continued to entertain guests at Kinrara, a farmhouse in Inverness-shire, which she later rebuilt. These gatherings were recalled by Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus in her Memoirs of a Highland Lady (1898 edn, p.46): 'Half the London world of fashion, all the clever people that could be hunted out from all parts, all the north country, all the neighbourhood from far and near, without regard to wealth or station, and all the kith and kin of both Gordons and Maxwells, flocked to this encampment in the wilderness during the fine autumns to enjoy the free life, the pure air, and the wit and fun the duchess brought with her to the mountains'.

    She was portrayed many times by artists such as Romney, Reynolds, Catherine Read, Kauffmann, Nasmyth, David Martin, as well as in various drawings by John Brown (Stephen Lloyd and Kim Sloan, The Intimate Portrait: Drawings, Miniatures and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh and British Museum, London, 2008-2009, p.223).
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