Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

1 portrait on display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge), by Robert Edge Pine, circa 1775 - NPG 5856 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

by Robert Edge Pine
oil on canvas, circa 1775
54 in. x 41 1/4 in. (1372 mm x 1048 mm)
Purchased, 1985
Primary Collection
NPG 5856


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Painted at the outset of the American War of Independence, this political portrait conveys Macaulay's commitment to representative government. To indicate her republican sentiments and belief in democracy, she is dressed as a Roman matron, but also wears the distinctive purple sash of an elected Roman Senator. The letter in her hand refers to her friend and patron Revd Thomas Wilson, who probably commissioned this portrait.

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  • NPG 1357: Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge) (after)

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Events of 1775back to top

Current affairs

Act of Parliament extends inventor James Watt's patent (first granted in 1769) and the first steam engines are built under it. First known building society - Ketley's Building Society - is established in Birmingham by Richard Ketley, landlord of the Golden Cross Inn.

Art and science

First performance of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play The Rivals at the Covent Garden Theatre in London. Artist J.M.W. Turner is born. Satirist James Gillray's first engravings and etchings are published. Navigator Captain Cook publishes his discovery of a preventive cure against scurvy, in the form of a regular ration of lemon juice.

International

War of American Independence begins with British defeat at Lexington and Concord and lasts until 1783. British achieve a narrow and costly victory over the Americans at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Edmund Burke delivers a speech to the British Parliament on conciliation with the American colonies. First performance of Pierre Beaumarchais' comic opera The Barber of Seville in Paris. Pope Pius VI succeeds Pope Clement XIV as the 251st pope.

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