Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Elizabeth Ann Sheridan (née Linley) (1754-1792), Singer and writer

1768
Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, 'a large Picture of Tommy Lindley & his Sister' (J. Hayes ed., Gainsborough Letters, 2001, p 51). Generally equated with the Beggar Boy and Girl which Gainsborough sold to the Duke of Dorset in 1784, now Sterling & Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, Mass. (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.801; G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich, 1988, pp 8, 62).

1772
Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, whole length standing in a landscape with her sister Mary (Mrs Tickell). Dulwich Picture Gallery (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.450; illus. G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich, 1988, pp 45, 64). Exhibited RA 1772 (95); ‘I was just finishing her picture for the Exhibition’ wrote Gainsborough (31 March 1772), when she married Sheridan. A bust-length oval version of Elizabeth’s head, attributed to Gainsborough Dupont, in the White House, Washington DC; a copy called Ozias Humphry sold Bonham’s, 20 November 1997, lot 65a.
The half-length oval by Gainsborough c.1775 in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (E24-4-13; E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.449; G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich, 1988, p 58) closely imitates the Dulwich head.

1775
Painting by Joshua Reynolds, whole length as St Cecilia seated playing an organ. Waddesdon Manor (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.1614). Engraved W. Dickinson 1776; T. Watson 1779; S. W. Reynolds. Exhibited Second special exhibition of National Portraits (William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington, 1967 (665) lent Lord Lansdowne. Copied by Beechey and a half-length pastel version by Ozias Humphry is in the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath (G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich, 1988, p 75).

1778
Painting by Richard Samuel, Portraits in the characters of the Muses, see NPG 4905.

c.1778
Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, painted oval half length. Philadelphia Museum of Art (E24-4-13; E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.449; G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich 1988, p 58).

1779
Drawing by Ozias Humphry, profile bust to left, looking down. Victoria Art Gallery, Bath (illus. G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich 1988, p 74). This head recurs in the engraving by J. Ogbourne 1779 (as Attention) and in the untraced pastel by Humphry exhibited RA 1796 (490), known through the engraving by H. Meyer 1816 (illus. G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich 1988, p 75).

1783
Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, whole length, exhibited RA 1783 (140), possibly the Washington portrait below.

1785-87
Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, whole-length seated to left in a landscape. National Gallery Washington (1937.1.92; E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.613; illus. G. Waterfield ed., A Nest of Nightingales; Thomas Gainsborough, The Linley Sisters, Dulwich 1988, pp 44, 77; J. Hayes. Catalogue of British Paintings, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992, pp 103-06). Engraved R. Lane 1825; an unpublished plate by G. Dupont.

Doubtful Portraits
Miniature by Richard Cosway of c.1780 in the Holburne Museum, Bath (R. Bayne-Powell, Catalogue of Portrait miniatures in the Holburne Museum and Crafts Study Centre, Bath, 1995, no.69); versions illus. J. L. Propert, History of Miniature Art, 1887, f.p.114; W. Sichel, Sheridan, 1909, I, f.p.320, andG. C. Williamson, Richard Cosway, 1905, f.p.52 (reversed). Mrs Sheridan did not apparently like Cosway; in her informal will, as quoted by Sichel, II, pp 222-23, she left to her friend Mrs Canning a portrait of herself ‘to be painted by anyone but Cosway’.
Her identity as the model for Charity, one of the three theological virtues in the windows of New College, Oxford, designed by Reynolds, is academic (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.2116). She has also been recognised in paintings by Benjamin West (H. von Erffa & A. Staley, The Paintings of Benjamin West, 1986, no.697), a miniature formerly at Hardwicke House, Hamstead (E. Farrer, Portraits in Suffolk Houses (West), 1908, p 161, no.109) and in an engraving after Mrs Crewe, Maternal Instruction (illus. W. Sichel, Sheridan, 1909, II, p 220).



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.