Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

by George Dance
pencil, 1793
9 3/4 in. x 7 1/2 in. (248 mm x 191 mm)
Purchased, 1898
Primary Collection
NPG 1151

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • George Dance (1741-1825), Architect and portrait draughtsman. Artist or producer associated with 322 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Older women tended not to observe every fashion and they are often shown wearing outmoded dress. In this drawing, the famous diarist, Hester Piozzi, is shown in profile, dominated by her wide, 'frizzed' hairstyle which was highly fashionable in the 1780s. It is tied with a simple 'bandeau' ribbon in keeping with the gradual trend towards the Neo-classical at this time. A tiny hat is perched on top of the whole ensemble. In contrast, the simplicity of English dress styles of the period prevails for the rest of her outfit; she wears an 'English dress' or robe à l'anglaise as it was known, made of linen or cotton with a delicate flower pattern. A starched piece of cloth is crossed over her chest to protect her modesty.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D14717: Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale) (after)

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Events of 1793back to top

Current affairs

Whig MP Charles Grey enters a motion for parliamentary reform but is defeated in the House of Commons.

Art and science

Radical 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.


Louis 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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