Sophia, Lady Burdett
- Extended Catalogue Entry
Sophia, Lady Burdett
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, after 1793
93 1/2 in. x 56 1/2 in. (2375 mm x 1435 mm)
Bequeathed by William Lehman Ashmead Bartlett Burdett-Coutts, 1952
Sitterback to top
- Sophia, Lady Burdett (1775-1844), Wife of Sir Francis Burdett. Sitter in 1 portrait.
Artistback to top
- Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 686 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait depicts Lady Burdett in a woodland setting, apparently resting on a stile after collecting flowers, one of which she has tucked into the folds of her gown. She wears a low plain hairstyle and carries a straw milkmaid or bergère hat with a ribbon tie. Such hats were popular in the 1750s and 60s and their use was continued only by working country women in later years. Lady Burdett's deliberate adoption of this old-fashioned, pastoral style aims to lend her a simple charm, though it is at odds with her spotless white dress, dainty pointed slipper-shoes and the fashionable detailing of her accessories. Her pink shawl is edged with modish 'steel embroidery' - incorporating shiny bands of steel thread - while her kid gloves are in the fashionable 'York tan' shade.
Linked publicationsback to top
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1793back to top
Current affairsWhig MP Charles Grey enters a motion for parliamentary reform but is defeated in the House of Commons.
Art and scienceRadical philosopher William Godwin publishes Political Justice, an inflamatory document that promoted rational anarchism. This crystallised a wider feeling that a new era of world peace and progress was beginning.
Sir William Beechey is appointed Portrait Painter to her Majesty, Queen Charlotte.
InternationalLouis XVI and Marie-Antoinette are executed and the Reign of Terror begins.
France declares war on Britain, Holland and then Spain. William Pitt addresses the House of Commons and Britain hesitantly joins the first coalition of anti-revolutionary European states to oppose the French threat.
Attack on Corsica in which Captain Horatio Nelson loses an eye.
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