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Sarah Archer (nee West), Lady Archer ('The finishing touch')

4 of 8 portraits of Sarah Archer (nee West), Lady Archer

Sarah Archer (nee West), Lady Archer ('The finishing touch'), by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey, published 29 September 1791 - NPG D12424 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sarah Archer (nee West), Lady Archer ('The finishing touch')

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 29 September 1791
10 3/4 in. x 6 7/8 in. (273 mm x 176 mm) plate size; 11 3/4 in. x 8 1/4 in. (298 mm x 208 mm) paper size
Purchased, 1947
Reference Collection
NPG D12424


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Sitterback to top

Artistsback to top

  • James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Artist associated with 881 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.
  • Hannah Humphrey (active 1778-1822), Publisher and printseller. Artist associated with 717 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Lady Archer was well-known in high society and a favourite target of the satirist James Gillray for her close attention to the latest fashions. In this print she wears the riding jacket and skirt which had become the ordinary day or travelling-dress of many English women. The jacket is cut tight at the waist, slopes away at the sides like a fashionable man's coat and flares out at the back. Other details adopted from male dress include the high collar, lapels and buttoned cuffs à la marinière. To accompany her outfit, Lady Archer wears a 'top hat', popular from 1787-1791. The practical masculinity of the outfit - which surprised foreigners when worn by English women abroad - is balanced by her liberal application of rouge and the ostentatious hat feathers she has added.