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Probably Dorothy, Viscountess Townshend

Probably Dorothy, Viscountess Townshend, by Charles Jervas, circa 1715 -NPG 2506 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Probably Dorothy, Viscountess Townshend

studio of Charles Jervas
circa 1715
48 3/4 in. x 36 1/4 in. (1238 mm x 921 mm)
NPG 2506

This portraitback to top

On comparison with authentic portraits and in particular with one at Dulwich which is very close in pose and features, NPG 2506 is now believed to represent Dorothy, Viscountess Townshend (1686-1726), [1] sister of Sir Robert Walpole and second wife of Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend. The features agree well with known portraits such as the Kneller signed and dated 1715, sold by Lady Townshend, Christie's, 4 July 1947, lot 4 and the head by Jervas at Holkham. In the Dulwich painting the sitter is shown holding her surcoat instead of the fichu (or scarf) in NPG 2506, and there are tents in the background, left.

Footnotesback to top

1) Reproduced Connoisseur, CXX, 1947, p 5, as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; first questioned by C. K. Adams in the 1950s.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark brown hair, centre-parted, brown eyes, near-white eyebrows, dimpled chin, turban with brooch, centre; blue robe and waistcoat, Turkish style, gold belt over white shirt, white, gold-embroidered fichu(?) held in her left hand, a bracelet with a miniature of a man on her right wrist; landscape background, now somewhat indistinct, may include a bay or valley and a hill.

Conservationback to top

Rubbed; discoloured varnish; small old damages above the head and the base of throat.

Provenanceback to top

Received, 1931, by bequest from Miss Lillie B. Randell, with portraits of Frederick, Prince of Wales (now NPG 2501, q.v.), George III (NPG 2502), George IV (NPG 2503) and the 2nd Duke of Newcastle (NPG 2504), incorrectly named the 1st Duke; earlier history unknown.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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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