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Elizabeth (née Farren), Countess of Derby

Elizabeth (née Farren), Countess of Derby, by Anne Seymour Damer (née Conway), circa 1788 -NPG 4469 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Elizabeth (née Farren), Countess of Derby

by Anne Seymour Damer (née Conway)
circa 1788
23 1/2 in. (597 mm) high
NPG 4469

Inscriptionback to top

Incised on the socle: THALIA and below her left shoulder in Greek capitals: ANNA/ ?. ?AMEP/H. ?ON?INAIA/E?OIEI/ (Anna S. Damer of London made me), and on the back: ELIZABETH.FARREN/COUNTESS. OF. DERBY/ANNA./SEYMOUR. DAMER./FECIT.

This portraitback to top

The bust, representing Miss Farren as 'Thalia the Muse of Comedy and Idyllic Poetry', was probably made shortly after her meeting with Mrs Damer at the Duke of Richmond's amateur theatricals in 1787; Jones's engraving was published March 1789 and the incision on the back describing her as 'Countess of Derby' was added after her marriage in 1797. A press cutting in the British Museum version of the Anderdon RA Catalogues (1785) reads: 'Miss Damer has made a present to Sir Charles Hotham of the beautiful bust of Miss Farren which has been so much talked of. … This head is one of her best works. Indeed on such a head what work must be well? - The inscription under it is all that is needful - only the single word Thalia.' Unfortunately the cutting is undated.
Sotheby's catalogue 31 July 1958 (142) mentions 'a somewhat similar bust by this sculptress, executed by Nollekens, recently acquired by the Rhode Island School of Design' (Museum Notes, May 1958, figs.4 and 5).

Physical descriptionback to top

Her luxuriant hair is wreathed with ivy leaves.

Provenanceback to top

Given by Mrs Damer to Sir Charles Hotham; Mrs Campbell Johnston; N. Campbell Johnston; Sotheby's 31 July 1958 (142) bought in; Rupert Gunnis and bequeathed by him 1965.

Exhibitionsback to top

Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph, New Gallery, 1891 (1613) lent by Mrs Campbell Johnston.

Reproductionsback to top

Stipple by John Jones published 31 March 1789.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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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