118
118

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH BOWES, MRS. CROFT
Estimation
40 00060 000
Lot. Vendu 162,500 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
118

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH BOWES, MRS. CROFT
Estimation
40 00060 000
Lot. Vendu 162,500 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings

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Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
SUDBURY 1727 - 1788 LONDON
PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH BOWES, MRS. CROFT
oil on canvas, within a painted oval, in the original frame and slip
29 by 25 in.; 73.2 by 63.5 cm.
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Provenance

By descent to Bernard Hutton Croft, Steventon Manor, Hampshire, the sitter's great-grandson;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Sotheby's, 30 June 2005, lot 81.

Exposition

London, Schomberg House, 1784 (as "Mrs Crofts");
Winchester, 1935;
London, Museum of London, Let's Face It, 10 June - 28 September 1986;
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, on loan, 9 March - 5 July 1990;
Sudbury, Suffolk, Gainsborough's House, on loan, 1990-1998.

Bibliographie

W.T. Whiteley, Thomas Gainsborough, London, 1915, p. 228;
E.K. Waterhouse, "Preliminary Checklist of Portraits by Thomas Gainsborough," in Walpole Society, Oxford 1953, vol. XXXIII, p. 25;
E.K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, London, 1958, p. 61.

Description

This portrait of Mrs. Croft is a fine example of Gainsborough’s late style. Painted in circa 1783, a few years after the sitter’s marriage, she is depicted fashionably attired and with a particularly flamboyant hairstyle.

In 1774, Gainsborough leased the west wing of Schomberg House at 80 Pall Mall. He built a painting room over the garden with a salon above that served as his showroom.  Following disagreements with the Royal Academy over the hanging of his pictures, he finally broke from them in 1784 and held an inaugural exhibition at Schomberg House in July of that year.  There he could have full control over how his pictures were hung and lit.  His first exhibition included ten full-length portraits, twelve half or three-quarter lengths, and a selection of landscapes and subject pictures.  The present portrait seems to be the portrait of “Mrs Crofts” exhibited that year.

The sitter was the daughter and co-heiress of George Wanley Bowes of Thornton Hall, County Durham and Eyford, Gloucestershire, and his wife, Anne, daughter of John Hutton of Marske. On 28 August 1779, she married Robert Nicholas Croft, a member of an old established Yorkshire family which lived at Stillington Hall.  Robert Croft settled at Aldborough Hall and became Canon Residentiary of St. Peter’s Cathedral, York and Prebendary of Botevant.  The Crofts had three sons who all followed their father into the church.  The eldest, James, became Archdeacon of Canterbury and married Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Charles Manners Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury.

This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the portraits of Thomas Gainsborough by Hugh Belsey.

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