Photo credit: Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service: Ipswich Borough Council Collection
Who painted this portrait? In fact the style is closer to 1780 than 1760.
Hi Martin. A clue could be the subject matter herself, possibly? Lady Diana Beauclerk was an artist. She was associated by a surrounding swirl of scandal and intrigue. There is a rather fine biography of the Lady Diana Beauclerk by Beatrice Erskine, publication circa 1903.
The Image is quite poor, but what about David Martin (1737-97) ?
In 1760 she would have been 26, and she looks a good 20 years older than that here.
Is this portrait of Lady Diana Beauclerk? Is it even British (both appearance and canvas size make me think of France or elsewhere on the Continent)? The woman is holding a volume inscribed ICONOLOGIA, perhaps Cesare Ripa's Iconologia. Why?
I think it could be possible that this book may be ‘Iconologie tirée de divers auteurs. Ouvrage utile aux gens de lettres, aux poëtes, aux artistes, & généralement à tous les amateurs des beaux-arts’ by Jean-Baptist Boudard 1710-1768 (vol 1)
There also appears to have been a printing:
Parma: Filippo Carmignani, 1759. As well as by Jean Thomas de Trattnern in 1766.
It shows image no. 98, ‘Compassion’.
Perhaps this extract is relevant:
It Looks Italian to me Maybe Painted whilst on the Grand Tour as so many were.
It looks far more likely that the book in the portrait may be the edition printed in Parma by Filippo Carmignani in 1759. The border surrounding the image appears much further towards the outer edges of the book, as there is more text to fit on the page. This is due to the text being bi-lingual, in both Italian and French.
There is a dividing line that separates the text of both languages which almost touches the middle of the bottom of the image. I think this line can almost just be seen on the portait. The Jean Thomas de Trattnern printing of 1766 appears to be only in French, and is far narrower.
Although French born, Jean-Baptist Boudard was the sculptor to the Court of Parma.
This is Beauclerk by Reynolds:
‘Compassion’ as stated earlier is image 98 from vol.1 in each printing,
(not vol.3 as the previous attachment). Correct image as attached.
If the book page in the picture reads ICONOLOGIE and is thus in French, that would suggest a French sitter and picture. Is it possible to get a higher resolution photo of that area of the picture?
Of course, it is possible that a British female aristocrat could read French, but how common was that?
The detail as requested of the book.
Thank you, David. So it is in French. Boudard's Iconologie was first published in 1759 and subsequently reprinted. Boudard was a French sculptor active in Italy.
It would appear the picture was bought in 1933 from A. Cubitt, presumably an auctioneer or dealer, and I assume that was the source of the current identification of the sitter. Can the collection say any more based on its records, such as any provenance information it may have been given?
There is another book on the table at lower right. The woman must have been an intellectual or artistic type of some sort to be portrayed this way; perhaps she had a salon. Lady Di (as she was known) would have had use for such a book, given her work as a painter, illustrator and designer.
Jacinto, I have asked the Collection about your question from 26/01/21.
The original 1759 Parma edition was bilingual (French and Italian text), and it described itself as a work "utile aux gens de lettres, aux poëtes, aux artistes, & généralement à tous les amateurs des beaux arts." Obviously, that would suit someone like Beauclerk, who need not have bothered with the text if she could not read French or Italian, but simply focused on the images.
However, if this is not Beauclerk but a French sitter, the picture could be earlier, perhaps by someone like Nattier.
down the ages every British and European female aristocrat [and most gentlewomen] had excellent knowledge of French
The Collection have checked their paper files and have no more provenance information other than that listed. However, they do have a 1933 letter from the National Portrait Gallery stating they thought the sitter was Lady Diana Beauclerk.