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Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon

1 of 89 portraits by Francis Cotes

Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon, by Francis Cotes, 1751 -NPG 4890 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Elizabeth (née Gunning), Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon

by Francis Cotes
23 1/4 in. x 17 1/4 in. (591 mm x 438 mm)
NPG 4890

Inscriptionback to top

Signed in black, lower right: FC(monogram)otes pxt./1751.

This portraitback to top

NPG 4890 not only marked the arrival in London of the beautiful Elizabeth Gunning, but also significantly helped to establish the young Francis Cotes, who went on to make several portraits of the Gunning family. [1] McArdell’s mezzotint was prominently advertised in April 1752 as obtainable only from Cotes’s residence in Cork Street; [2] by then Elizabeth Gunning was Duchess of Hamilton.
A pastel replica belongs to the Croome Estate [3] and a copy in oils remains at Inverary Castle. Cotes used the same head for another half length (with a corsage), almost certainly a pastel, [4] known only through an engraving by Houston. [5] This in turn was engraved anonymously with minor differences in the dress, [6] the plate becoming the source of an oval Battersea enamel. [7]

Footnotesback to top

1) See E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, 1976, p 9; a Cotes portrait of one of the Miss Gunnings was celebrated in verse in September 1750 (Gentleman's Magazine, XX, 1750, p 423).
2) London Advertiser, 6 April 1752, see E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, 1976, p 9.
3) Illus. C. Gordon, The Coventrys of Croome, 2000, pl.XIII. The sitter’s sister Maria (d. 1760) married the 6th Earl of Coventry.
4) E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, 1976, no.31.
5) Illus. Connoisseur, XII, 1905, p 162.
6) A reduced version of the same print called Madame Vestris as Mrs Page.
7) Examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum (414.1411.1885; illus. Connoisseur, LXXXIX, 1932, p 169) and Sotheby’s, 28 February 1972, lot 156.

Referenceback to top

Johnson 1976
E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, 1976, no.16.

Simon 1997
J. Simon, The Art of the Picture Frame, NPG, 1997, pp 66, 161.

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue-grey eyes, dark hair, wearing an ermine-trimmed blue cape over a blue and pink dress with gold trimming.

Provenanceback to top

Sir George Russell, 4th Bt, in 1889,1 by descent to Lady Marjorie Russell; her sale, Christie’s, 6 June 1972, lot 104, bought Leggatt for the NPG.

1 (1828-98), married Constance, daughter of Lord Arthur Lennox (7th son of 4th Duke of Richmond). E. M. Johnson, Francis Cotes, 1976, no.16, stated NPG 4890 descended directly from the sitter. It may just be seen in a photograph of the drawing room at Swallowfield, illus. Lady Russell, Swallowfield, 1901, f.p.304.

Exhibitionsback to top

British Art, Grosvenor Gallery, 1889 (230) lent Sir George Russell; British Art, RA, 1934 (808) lent Arthur Russell (later 6th Bt); Masque of Beauty, NPG, 1972 (55); Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, Tulsa, Miami, Washington, Ottawa, NPG, Manchester, Carlisle, Canterbury, 1993-95 (21).

Reproductionsback to top

R. Brookshaw 1751; J. McArdell 1752; A. Miller.

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.