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Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire

3 of 3 portraits on display on Floor 1: Lady Chesterfield's Room at Beningbrough Hall

Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire, attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds, circa 1761 - NPG 1041 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire

attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1761
23 in. x 18 1/2 in. (584 mm x 470 mm)
Given by the sitter's great-grandson, Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 1896
Primary Collection
NPG 1041

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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Born at Althorp, Northamptonshire, Georgiana was the eldest daughter of the 1st Earl Spencer, and she is seen in this portrait at about the age of four. In 1774 she married the 5th Duke of Devonshire, the most eligible bachelor in England. She quickly became a celebrity whose every movement was followed by the press and whose dress set the fashion. Not only did she preside over the most influential salon of the time but she was also an energetic supporter of Whig party. Unhappy in her marriage, the Duchess was addicted to gambling and became pregnant by her lover Charles Grey. Sent into exile by the Duke, she returned from France after three years and slowly regained her position of influence within politics.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D9192: (Margaret) Georgiana Spencer (née Poyntz), Countess Spencer; Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire ()
  • NPG D41998: (Margaret) Georgiana Spencer (née Poyntz), Countess Spencer; Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire ()
  • NPG D41999: (Margaret) Georgiana Spencer (née Poyntz), Countess Spencer; Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire ()

Linked publicationsback to top

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