67
67

PROPERTY FROM A SOUTHERN COLLECTION

Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.
PORTRAIT OF MRS. JOSEPH INCHBALD
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 399,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
67

PROPERTY FROM A SOUTHERN COLLECTION

Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.
PORTRAIT OF MRS. JOSEPH INCHBALD
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 399,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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New York

Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.
BRISTOL 1769 - 1830 LONDON
PORTRAIT OF MRS. JOSEPH INCHBALD

Provenance

William Dacres Adams, Private Secretary to William Pitt the Younger, and thence by descent until 1994;
With Thos. Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London:
From whom acquired by the mother of the present owner.

Exhibited

London, Royal Academy, Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A., 28 October - 31 December 1961, no. 35;
New Haven, Yale Center for British Art; Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum; Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portraits of an Age, 1790-1830, 1993, no. 24.

Literature

J. Boaden, ed., Memoirs of Mrs. Inchbald, London 1833, vol. I, pp. 342, 349, vol. II, pp. 246-248;
W. Armstrong, Lawrence, London 1913, p. 141;
K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1954, p. 43;
K. Garlick, “A catalogue of the paintings, drawings and pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence,” in The Walpole Society, Vol. 39 (1962-1964), p. 110;
K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence: a complete catalogue of the oil paintings, Oxford 1989, p. 212. cat. no. 429a;
K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portraits of an Age, 1790-1830, exhibition catalogue, New Haven 1993, p. 66 cat. no. 24, reproduced p. 67.

ENGRAVED:
Stipple engraving, Samuel Freeman, 1797, plate to The Monthly Mirror (1807).

Catalogue Note

Elizabeth Simpson Inchbald, the daughter of a Suffolk farmer, left home at an early age determined to make a career on the stage. She married the actor Joseph Inchbald (1735-1779), playing Cordelia to his Lear in her debut in 1772 in Bristol.  In the ensuing years, she performed in numerous roles, not only in Shakespearian drama, but in 17th century comedies and tragedies as well as contemporary plays, appearing in London and Dublin.  Though she had numerous admirers, her acting was never critically acclaimed and she began to devote her energy into writing both plays and fiction.  In 1789, she retired from the stage to write full time, achieving considerable success.  Her work for the stage included comedies, sentimental dramas and farces, some of which were original and others of which were adaptations of French and German plays.  Inchbald is best known today for her novel A Simple Story (1791), and to readers of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park in which her play, Lover’s Vows (1798) is the drama enacted by some of the characters in a private theatrical and deemed rather unsuitable, as it follows the story of a “fallen woman” and her illegitimate son.

Inchbald is thought to have met Lawrence through the actress Sarah Siddons with whom she had a close friendship. This portrait of circa 1796, left unfinished, provides us with insight into Lawrence’s working method when beginning a portrait.  According to his early biographer, Allan Cunningham, “His constant practice was to begin by making a drawing of the head full size on canvass; carefully tracing dimensions and expression.  This took up one day.”1  At the next sitting, Lawrence would begin to paint the head.  In this portrait of Mrs. Inchbald, we see exactly this method with the head having been almost fully worked up while her torso is delineated by black chalk drawn directly on the canvas.  Though never completed, Lawrence has already captured the beauty and keen intelligence of his sitter.

Another portrait of Elizabeth Inchbald by Lawrence, dating from a few years later, was sold at Sotheby’s London on 10 July 1991, lot 54.

1.  See A. Cunningham,  The Lives of the most eminent British Painters, Sculptors and Architects, London 1833, vol. 6, pp. 194-195.

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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New York