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Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon

1 of 13 portraits of Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon

Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon, by Francis Cotes, 1751 - NPG 4890 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon

by Francis Cotes
pastel on blue paper laid down on canvas, 1751
23 1/4 in. x 17 1/4 in. (591 mm x 438 mm)
Purchased, 1972
Primary Collection
NPG 4890


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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Francis Cotes (1726-1770), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 89 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Elizabeth Gunning and her elder sister Maria were the most celebrated beauties of their day. The daughters of a hard-up Irish landowner, they moved to London from Dublin in 1750 and almost immediately caused a sensation in society. In addition to natural beauty, the girls' lack of sophistication gave a spurious air of wit to whatever they said and did. Francis Cotes drew the Gunning sisters at the very beginning of his, and their, career. The pastels were engraved as a pair and helped to establish Cotes's reputation as a fashionable portraitist. They are framed in the Maratta style, named after the Italian baroque painter Carlo Maratta, which is usually ornamented, as it is here, with a run of acanthus-and-tongue carving.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 16
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 45
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 276
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 66

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