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Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

1 of 14 portraits of Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale), by Unknown Italian artist, 1785-1786 -NPG 4942 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

by Unknown Italian artist
29 3/4 in. x 24 3/4 in. (756 mm x 629 mm)
NPG 4942

This portraitback to top

Mrs Piozzi and her husband were in Italy from October 1784 to September 1786; from 24 October to November 1785 and 27 February to 19 April 1786 they were at Rome, where they sat for their portraits. [1] NPG 4942, a pedestrian work, was apparently one of these, and the pendant portrait of Gabriel Piozzi may be identified with that now in the Hyde Collection. [2] While these portraits descended through the Salusbury-Piozzi family in England, another pair were left behind in Italy, and were last recorded in the collection of Enrico Piozzi at Brescia in 1892. [3] Mrs Piozzi’s description of her Roman portrait seems more appropriate for the latter; she told her daughter: 'We sate for our Pictures in Rome as I said I would - but such Objects! mine particularly, that I have done nothing but beg they might be burned ever since; as a Red-haired old Hag in a white Bedgown, is neither 'Ornamento' of one Country, nor 'Grazia' of another'. [4]

Footnotesback to top

1) Cf. J. Ingamells, Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, compiled from the Brinsley Ford Archive, 1997, pp 770-71.
2) Illus. J. L. Clifford, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale), 1952, f.p.308; E. A. & L. D. Bloom ed., The Piozzi Letters, I, p 213; from the collection of George Augustus Salusbury (1822-93), great nephew of Gabriel Piozzi.
3) Illus. Piozzi, Glimpses of Italian Society, 1892, f.p.4, and J. L. Clifford, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale), 1952, p.285.
4) Verona, 27 September 1786 (E. A. & L. D. Bloom ed., The Piozzi Letters, I, p 215 and see p 216n14).

Physical descriptionback to top

Grey hair, grey-blue eyes, fresh complexion; she wears a dormeuse cap, a ribbon in her hair and at her waist with blue and black stripes and red edges; a standing collar of silk gauze à la Médici, with a black silk ribbon at her neck; her silk dress is striped with pink-banded yellow-edged panels and she has black net gloves.1

1 Her costume is decribed in A. Ribeiro, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, pp 143-44.

Provenanceback to top

Mrs Beryl Salusbury Whitaker, a family descendant;1 Lawrence, Crewkerne, 22 March 1973, lot 351, bought Leggatt for the NPG.

1 Who also sold in 1973 portraits of Sir John Salusbury Piozzi, the Piozzi’s adopted son, and his wife (lot 352) .

Exhibitionsback to top

Ivory, Feathers and Lace, Museum of London, 1986.

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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