The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

First Previous 2 OF 19 NextLast

Angela Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts

2 of 19 portraits of Angela Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Angela Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts

by Sir William Charles Ross
watercolour on ivory, circa 1847
16 1/2 in. x 11 1/2 in. (419 mm x 292 mm)
Transferred from Tate Gallery, 1957
Primary Collection
NPG 2057

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

The daughter of the politician Sir Francis Burdett, Angela Burdett took the additional name of Coutts in 1837 when she inherited the share in Coutts Bank of her maternal grandfather, Thomas Coutts. Known as 'the richest heiress in all England', she took an active interest in the family banking business and worked keenly to improve the working conditions of women, children and animals. She was also concerned with practical ways of improving poor economies, and took a close interest in, among other projects, the Irish fishing industry and the cotton industry of South Nigeria. The friend of many distinguished figures in England, including the royal family and several Prime Ministers, she was raised to the peerage in 1871.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 2056: Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt (companion portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cox, Paul, Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, 2015 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 March - 7 June 2015), p. 47 Read entry

    Another relationship that sheds light on Wellington's character in his later years was his friendship with the heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts. Daughter of the radical politician Sir Francis Burdett and granddaughter of the banker Thomas Coutts, Angela inherited Coutts's banking fortune on the death of his second wife in 1837, becoming the richest heiress in England. This background of radical politics and great wealth inspired in Burdett-Coutts a spririt of philanthropy and she sought to use her fortune for charitable purposes. After the death of both her parents in 1844, she and Wellington became close friends - she lived in Piccadilly, not far from Apsley House - and he advised her on both the management and the disbursement of her wealth.

    Surviving letters confirm that the relationship was an extremely close and loving one and Burdett-Coutts, in a highly unconventional move, proposed marraige to Wellington in 1847 when she was thirty-two and he seventy-seven. He refused her gently, stressing the difficulties of the great age gap, and they were to remain intimate friends until his death in 1852. Indeed, after that, his family treated her almost as his widow. She certainly attended the funeral alongside other members of the family and was the only woman to whom Wellington's son gave a death mask.

  • Lucinda Hawksley, Charles Dickens and his Circle, 2016, p. 77
  • Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 174
  • Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 177
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 88
  • Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 11

Events of 1847back to top

Current affairs

The 10 Hours Factory Act passed, regulating working hours for women and children under the age of eighteen to a maximum of ten hours a day.
The Communist League is founded in London, and drew up a set of rules and aims, including overthrowing the bourgeoisie and empowering the Proleteriat, and ending class division, forming the basis of Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto (1848).}
Death and emigration resulting from starvation, plague and disease during worst year of the Great Famine in Ireland, known as Black 47.

Art and science

A good year for novels: Emily Bronte's passionate, rebellious and gothic Wuthering Heightsis published, followed shortly by her sister Charlotte's 'Jane Eyre, a story of a governess's struggle for liberty from social and gender constrictions. Drawing on a similar vein of revolution and rebellious women, William Thackeray's satirical novel Vanity Fair is serialised.

International


The Don Pacifico affair sparks an international incident, when the Jewish trader's business was burned in an anti-semitic attack in Athens. When the Greek government refused to compensate him, Gibraltar-born Pacifico appealed to the British government. Foreign Minister Palmerston sent a squadron into the Aegean in 1850 to seize goods of the equivalent value, leading to strained relations with Turkey and Russia, and heated debates in Parliament.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.