Thomas Gainsborough (Sudbury 1727-1788 London) Portrait of Catherine Warneford, neé Calverly, of Warneford Place, in a white lace and blue silk dress
Lot 36
Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (Sudbury 1727-1788 London) Portrait of Catherine Warneford, neé Claverley, of Warneford Place, half-length, in and blue silk dress,
Sold for £31,250 (US$ 51,663) inc. premium
Auction Details
Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (Sudbury 1727-1788 London) Portrait of Catherine Warneford, neé Claverley, of Warneford Place, half-length, in and blue silk dress,
Lot Details
Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (Sudbury 1727-1788 London)
Portrait of Catherine Warneford, neé Claverley, of Warneford Place, half-length, in and blue silk dress, and a lace finchu, within a painted oval
oil on canvas
73.2 x 63.8cm (28 13/16 x 25 1/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    By descent to the sitter's great-great grandson, Jack Warneford (1881–1960)
    His daughter, Mary Isabella (1905–90), who married Harold Gibson (d. 1961)
    Thence by descent to her granddaughter

    This newly discovered portrait dates from circa 1766, painted when Gainsborough was working in Bath. The sitter, Catherine Claverley, was the daughter of Samuel Claverley (died 1765), a successful drug merchant from Southwark who had a house at Ewell in Surrey. On 4 August 1757 she married the Rev. Dr. Francis Warneford at Saint Andrew's Church, Holburn and in 1765 she inherited from her father land in London, Surrey and Sussex. Ten years later the Warneford estates at Severnhampton and Warneford Place at Highworth, Wiltshire were mortgaged to the Claverley family in expectation of Catherine's inheritance. In November 1791 the Claverley estates, except property at Willingdon, Sussex, were placed in the hands of trustees to benefit Catherine's son, Samuel (1763–1855) and her youngest daughter, Philadelphia (1767–1834). Catherine received a further inheritance from her eldest sister, Philadelpia Curteis, in 1805. She died on 10 June 1810 at the age of 81 and was buried at Highworth, Wiltshire bequeathing her chattels to her children, Samuel and Philadelphia. The mortgage on the Claverley estates in Wiltshire was settled in 1824 and Samuel and Philadelphia Warneford eventually founded the Warneford Hospital at Oxford and a second hospital now known as the Birmingham Accident Hospital.

    The portrait was presumably painted to mark the sitter's status as an heiress after the death of her father in 1765. The frontal pose suggests that the portrait was never intended to be a pendant and the costume and handling of paint, assured and economical, is typical of Gainsborough's painting in the mid 1760s. Catherine Warneford is shown in a blue dress with a compère front, a lace fichu around her shoulders, set off by a lace cap decorated with ruched blue ribbon that matches her dress.

    We are grateful to Hugh Belsey for writing the present catalogue entry.
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