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Elizabeth Carter

4 of 689 portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Elizabeth Carter, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1788-1789 -NPG 28 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Elizabeth Carter

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
1788-1789
13 3/4 in. x 11 5/8 in. (350 mm x 295 mm)
NPG 28

Inscriptionback to top

The original backing (now separately preserved) inscribed: The Portrait of Elizabeth Carter/in Crayons by Sir Thos Lauren-/Taken in 1788 or 1789/Bequeathed by Mrs Frances Bowdl[er] to Mrs Smith, Niece to/Mrs Carter, & Wife of/[erasure] Geo: Smith Esqre/Somerset House/London

This portraitback to top

An ivory medallion copy by C. H. Geerts of Louvain is in Deal Town Hall, presented by Mrs Hannah Carter Smith (who latterly lived in Malines) in 1854 (it is set as a cover for a volume of six letters from Mrs Carter to Miss Highmore, with a covering letter describing Geerts’s work).

Referenceback to top

Garlick 1964
K. Garlick, ‘A Catalogue of the paintings, drawings and pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’, Walpole Society, XXXIX,1964, p.259.1

Garlick 1989
K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence: a complete catalogue of the oil paintings, 1989, p 166.


1 But said to have been in the Lawrence sale, Christie’s, 18 June 1831, lot 43 [c.1800]; engraved C. Watson 1806, and purchased by the NPG in 1958.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, white lace cap tied with a pink ribbon, dark brown silk dress, white neck frill with pink bow, a black silk shawl round her shoulders; an eye-glass hangs from a black ribbon round her neck.

Provenanceback to top

Drawn for Mrs Bowdler of Bath, by whom bequeathed to Mrs Hannah Carter Smith (the sitter’s niece, latterly of Malines), from whom purchased, through William Twopeny, 1858.1

1 Mrs Smith to Lord Stanhope, Malines, 7 January 1858, supplies this provenance (NPG archive), and see the inscription originally on the verso, quoted above. Mrs Smith (b. c.1788) was the younger daughter of John Carter, the sitter’s brother.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1790 (145);1 Lawrence, NPG, 1979 (56); Beningbrough 1979-.

1 'A Portrait of a Lady' identified by Graves as Elizabeth Carter.

Reproductionsback to top

C. Watson 1808 (as Thomas Lawrence delt. 1788).1

1 Illus. Romantic Women Writers, Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, 1994-95, no.1.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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