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Harriot Beauclerk (née Mellon), Duchess of St Albans

Harriot Beauclerk (née Mellon), Duchess of St Albans, by Sir William Beechey, circa 1815 -NPG 1915 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Harriot Beauclerk (née Mellon), Duchess of St Albans

by Sir William Beechey
circa 1815
94 in. x 58 in. (2388 mm x 1473 mm)
NPG 1915

This portraitback to top

Beechey probably painted five portraits of the Duchess (Memoirs of Miss Mellon afterwards Duchess of St Albans, ed. Mrs Baron-Wilson, 1840, I, p 282). (1) Half-length in Coutts & Co collection, as Miss Mellon in the part of 'Volante' in The Honeymoon, exhibited RA 1805 (178), mezzotint by Charles Turner 1806 (Alfred Whitman, Charles Turner, 1907, 366), and a miniature copy attributed to S. J. Stump at Phillips, 11 October 1983 (289). The dramatic story of its history is given in the Memoirs of Miss Mellon afterwards Duchess of St Albans, ed. Mrs Baron-Wilson, 1840, I, pp 280-3. (2) Whole-length, location unknown but listed in the Beechey Account Books under 1807-9 for 120 guineas and therefore whole-length. (3) Head and shoulders in Coutts & Co collection and listed in the Beechey Account Books 6 May 1817 as 'Mrs Coutts for a portrait of herself 50 guineas' (W. Roberts, Sir William Beechey R.A., 1907, p 244). (4) Whole-length in NPG. This may have been painted in her wedding-dress shortly after her marriage to Thomas Coutts in March 1815. It appears in the Beechey Account Books 4 September 1817 and 21 April 1818 as 'Mrs Coutts whole-length 200 guineas' and Beechey's receipt dated 23 April 1818 is in Messrs Coutts & Co's archives. (5) Beechey himself mentions five portraits: the fifth may have been the 30 x 25 in, wearing white muslin dress and rose-coloured cloak attributed to Lawrence in Burdett-Coutts sale 4 May 1922 (46).

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length standing in a landscape in white silk dress and veil, pearl necklace, gold wedding ring, ruby engagement ring, holding gloves; black hair, brown eyes, rosy complexion. 53 in lower left corner.

Provenanceback to top

Coutts family possession and bequeathed by W. L. A. Burdett-Coutts 1921.

Exhibitionsback to top

Dulwich Picture Gallery 1972.


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.

View all known portraits for Sir William Beechey

View all known portraits for Harriot Beauclerk (née Mellon), Duchess of St Albans

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