Thomas Gainsborough (Sudbury 1727-1788 London) Portrait of Lady Caroline Draper (circa 1730-1769), half-length, in a blue dress with a white lace cap held with blue ribbons, within a painted oval in a hollow-carved frame

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Lot 67
Thomas Gainsborough
(Sudbury 1727-1788 London)
Portrait of Lady Caroline Draper (circa 1730-1769), half-length, in a blue dress with a white lace cap held with blue ribbons, within a painted oval in a hollow-carved frame

Sold for £ 52,500 (US$ 73,935) inc. premium
Thomas Gainsborough (Sudbury 1727-1788 London)
Portrait of Lady Caroline Draper (circa 1730-1769), half-length, in a blue dress with a white lace cap held with blue ribbons, within a painted oval
oil on canvas
77 x 63.2cm (30 5/16 x 24 7/8in).
in a hollow-carved frame

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    By family descent from the sitter's sister to Lady Catherine Drummond
    With Agnews, London, 1919
    C.W.Cargill, Stanmore, Lanark
    A.J. Sulley Collection
    His sale, Christie's, London, 1 June 1934, lot 6 (bought in)
    Sale, Christie's, London, 3 May 1936, lot 36, (bt. Hughes)
    Charlotte Drummond Collection
    Her sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 June 1962, lot 97
    Private Collection, USA
    With Trosby Art Galleries, Palm Beach, 1960s
    Private Collection, USA, by whom offered
    Sale, Bonhams, London, 4 July 2007, lot 61

    Literature
    E. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, London, 1958, cat. no. 209, p. 64


    The great granddaughter of King Charles II and Nell Gwyn, through the first duke of St Albans, Caroline Beauclerk presented her husband, William Draper, with more social than financial benefits upon their marriage in 1756. By this time Draper had already enjoyed a successful military career, seeing action at both the Battle of Falkirk and Culloden. The year after his marriage, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel and commanded to raise a regiment of Foot for service in the East Indies. His regiment played a crucial role at the siege of Madras in September 1758 and he was later offered command of the British forces on the Coromandel coast, although he declined the offer, pleading ill-health and returned to England.

    At the outbreak of war with Spain in 1762, Draper was promoted Brigadier-General 'in the East Indies only' and sent to the Philippines to coordinate a pre-emptive strike against the Spanish in Manila. Draper and Vice-Admiral Samuel Cornish, his joint commander, seized the city on 6 October 1762 but by the time they had returned to England the following April with news of the victory, the treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years War, was already signed and Manila restored to Spain without compensation. With the prize money from his military success, he built Manila Hall at Clifton near Bristol, to which he retired with Caroline, and two years later, was made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath.

    He later came back to public attention with the public correspondence he exchanged with the anonymous writer Junius, a political insider intent on savaging the government of King George III. The public humiliation that this exchange caused, Sir William having published his letters under his own name, is said to have contributed to the early death of Caroline in the autumn of that year. She, whom Sir William referred to as 'sweet spirit-lulling Caroline' in his poem to his friend Christopher Anstey in 1767, had never been very robust and she died childless. She had made her will in 1769 and was buried in St Augustine-the-Less on August 19th.

    A portrait by Gainsborough of Sir William, on a larger scale than that of his wife, can now be seen in the De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco (acc. no. 60.29).

    At the time of the 2007 sale Hugh Belsey confirmed the attribution to Gainsborough upon firsthand inspection of the painting and suggested a date of the early 1760s. The portrait will be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist. Waterhouse dates both of the Draper portraits to the later part of the 1760s.
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