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Unknown woman, formerly known as Peg Woffington

6 of 13 portraits on display on Floor 2: Getting the Picture at Beningbrough Hall

Unknown woman, formerly known as Peg Woffington, attributed to Francis Hayman, circa 1745 - NPG 2177 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown woman, formerly known as Peg Woffington

attributed to Francis Hayman
oil on canvas, circa 1745
24 1/2 in. x 17 5/8 in. (622 mm x 448 mm)
Purchased, 1928
Primary Collection
NPG 2177


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  • Francis Hayman (1707 or 1708-1776), Painter. Artist associated with 13 portraits, Sitter in 6 portraits.

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The National Portrait Gallery acquired this picture in 1928 as a portrait of the actress Peg Woffington. We now think this identification is unlikely. The painting may not even be a portrait. Instead it might be a 'genre' scene that depicts a typical moment on the streets of an eighteenth-century English town. A middle-class woman wearing fashionable, modest costume is pulling on her gloves as she waits for her black page boy to summon the sedan chair, seen in the distance. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).

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