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

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

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

Buy a print Make a donation Close
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

by Peter Cross
watercolour on vellum and card, circa 1690-1700
3 in. x 2 1/2 in. (76 mm x 64 mm) oval
Purchased, 1969
Primary Collection
NPG 4692

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Peter Cross (circa 1645-1724), Artist. Artist of 4 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 33 Read entry

    Anne Finch (1661-1720), acquaintance and contemporary of fellow Augustan poet Alexander Pope, is best known for her Pindaric ode and longest poem, The Spleen (1701), and for Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions (1713). By the nineteenth century, William Wordsworth and other Romantics had come to see her as a kindred spirit. In the preface to Lyrical Ballads (1815), Wordsworth described her as one of the few Augustan poets to use ‘gentle imagination’ to describe ‘external nature’. She is among the first female poets ever published, writing not just verse but also prose and plays, all amid the difficulties of a woman navigating the male-dominated literary world. Born in Hampshire, daughter of Sir William Kingsmill, Finch was not only aristocratic but educated, too, her family being proponents of schooling for girls. A ‘gentle fighter’ is how twentieth-century poet Dilys Laing described her; a great advocate of social justice for women. She became Countess of Winchilsea in 1712, when her husband, Heneage Finch, became 5th Earl of Winchilsea.

  • Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 337
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 31
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 669
  • Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 49 Read entry

    Lady Winchilsea was a friend of Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, John Gay and Nicholas Rowe, and was herself a poet. Her Miscellany of Poems on Several Occasions was published in 1713. The best-known poem in it, 'The Spleen', is a somewhat melancholic composition, perhaps reflecting (as described by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One's Own) her unappreciated position as a woman writer and disposition to depression.

Events of 1690back to top

Current affairs

William III, forced to leave England to fight in Ireland, empowers Mary II, through the Regency Act, to exercise authority in his absence. William, however, unwilling to rest power solely with Mary, appoints a council of nine statesmen directly answerable to the absent king.

Art and science

Philosopher, John Locke, publishes An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding and Treatises on Government, in which he sets out his notion that human understanding is derived from experience.
Naturalist, John Ray, publishes Synopsis methodica stirpium Britannicarum. It became the most consulted book for the classification of British plants.


William III lands in Ireland with an allied force of Protestant fighters from European states to fight French and Irish troops under James II. William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne forces James to flee into permanent exile.
French defeat the English at the naval battle of Beachy Head.

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.


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.



Gallery blog

Read our latest news and have your say.

Join the conversation

Tell us More about our silhouettes, photograph of Hubert Leslie, Silhouettist

Identify our Silhouettes

Join enthusiastic contributors who have already identified 155 sitters.

Help transcribe signatures

Tell us More about our Silvy sitters, photograph of Camille Silvy, photographer with boy

Tell us more about our Silvy sitters

Help us identify the sitters who visited Camille Silvy’s photographic studio during the 1860s.

Identify our sitters