Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Christiana Cavendish (née Hervey), Duchess of Devonshire

Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Christiana Cavendish (née Hervey), Duchess of Devonshire, by John Westbrooke Chandler, circa 1790 - NPG 2355 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Christiana Cavendish (née Hervey), Duchess of Devonshire

by John Westbrooke Chandler
oil on canvas, circa 1790
49 1/2 in. x 37 3/4 in. (1257 mm x 959 mm)
Bequeathed by John Baring, 2nd Baron Revelstoke, 1929
Primary Collection
NPG 2355

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

This picture was bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery as a portrait of Lady Elizabeth Forster, later Duchess of Devonshire, but this is incorrect. Although the sitter is not known, the painting is signed by the painter John Westbrook Chandler. Chandler was the illegitimate son of Frances Greville, Earl of Warwick, He led a career as a landscape and portrait painter, and also wrote poetry. Few of his works survive and little is known of his life; he was described as a freethinker and melancholic, and apparently made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide before being confined in a mental institution in Edinburgh.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 525
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 697

Events of 1790back to top

Current affairs

Attempts to modify the Test and Corporation Acts are defeated, despite campaigning by dissenters such as the prominent Unitarian preacher and pamphleteer, Richard Price. The Acts prevented those outside the established church from holding government or military office.

Art and science

Joseph Mallord William Turner exhibits his first painting at the Royal Academy; a watercolour of The Archbishop's Palace, Lambeth.
The Firth to Clyde and Oxford to Birmingham canals are begun.


Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France. A landmark work of opposition to the Revolution which offered a critique of the radical philosophy behind events in France; the Reflections have been read as an articulation of the foundations of modern British conservatism. George Vancouver explores the north west coast of America.

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