Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Elizabeth Montagu (née Robinson) (1718-1800), Writer and leader of society

Miniature by Christian Zincke, bust-length oval, as Anne Boleyn, set in a box (see Mrs Delany). Christie’s, 8 March 1995, lot 21. SKM 1865 (2526) lent Mrs Greville Howard (illus. E. J. Climenson ed., Elizabeth Montagu; her correspondence 1720-1761, 1906, I, front.). Engraved R. Cooper 1809.

Painting by Edward Haytley, with her husband in the grounds of Sandleford Priory. Leger 1978.

Painting by William Hoare, half-length painted oval, wearing a purple and white dress with lace collar and veil. Christie’s, 30 June 1888, lot 39 as ‘Mrs Montague’ (sketch by Scharf in sale catalogue). On 8 May 1749 Mrs Montagu wrote that her husband had made her put a masquerade dress on one side ‘to be painted in when I see Mr Hoare again. His picture is thought like but the face too thin for my full jaws’, and in 1750 she wrote that if Hoare pleased ‘to send my face to Hill Street, it will meet with a kind reception; it is a young face to be sure, but the retrospect to 18 is so pleasant I shall find no fault with it’ (E. J. Climenson ed., Elizabeth Montagu; her correspondence 1720-1761, I, 1906, pp 265, 272). The portrait appears to have been commissioned by Lord Hardwicke and to have been at Wimpole; it was ‘improved’ by Hoare in 1784 (R. Blunt ed., Mrs Montagu, her letters and friendships 1762-76, 1923, II, pp 168-69).

Painting by Edward Haytley, whole length standing in a park. Private collection.

Painting by Allan Ramsay, three-quarter length seated, her elbow resting on the third volume of Hume’s History. Private collection (A. Smart, ed. J. Ingamells, Allan Ramsay, a complete catalogue of his Paintings, 1999, no.371).

Painting by Joshua Reynolds, seated three-quarter length. Untraced (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.1270). Mrs Montagu thought there was ‘a good deal of flattery in the likeness’ (R. Blunt ed., Mrs Montagu, her letters and friendships 1762-76, 1923, II, p 293). Engraved J. R. Smith 1776; F. Bartolozzi 1792 (bust length) and many other small derivative plates. Miniature copy by H. Edridge exhibited SKM 1865 (214) lent C. B. Carruthers. A derivative bust length with a fur collar, drawn by Rivers engraved W. Ridley 1800.

Wedgwood medallion (illus. R. Reilly and G. Savage, Wedgwood the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 246). Engraved T. Holloway 1776 (facing a bust of Mrs Barbauld, with an elaborate surround) and 1785; W. Ridley 1800 (European Mag.). A ‘cameo’, presumably the Wedgwood medallion, was being distributed in 1776; the original model was possibly by Joachim Smith (cf. R. Blunt ed., Mrs Montagu, her letters and friendships 1762-76, 1923, I, pp 308-09); on 3 July 1775 Wedgwood wrote that the medallions of Mrs Montagu and Mrs Barbauld were not modelled as a pair ‘neither in size nor character’ (see Barbauld).

Painting by Frances Reynolds, half length much resembling the portrait by Joshua Reynolds, engraved C. Townley (illus. E. J. Climenson ed., Elizabeth Montagu; her correspondence 1720-1761, I, 1906, II, front.).

Painting by James Barry, Distribution of Premiums in the Society of Arts, part of the Progress of Human Culture, in which Mrs Montagu appears as a profile head in the centre. Royal Society of Arts, London (illus. W. L. Pressly , The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 105). Engraved J. Barry 1791.

Painting by Richard Samuel, Portraits in the characters of the Muses, see NPG 4905.

Engraving by R. Lowry, bust-length oval wearing a bonnet with broad ribbon.

Doubtful Portraits
Nasty octagonal engraved half length, head in stern profile, Mrs Montague, pub. I. W. H. Pyne 1815.

Painting by Nathaniel Hone, half length, formerly at Brent Eleigh Hall, Suffolk, 1908 (E. Farrer, Portraits in Suffolk Houses (West), 1908, p 47, no.15).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.