soldportrait of elizabeth sutherland levesongower duchesscountess of sutherland 1782 studio or circle of romney

SOLD...Portrait of Elizabeth Sutherland Leveson-Gower, Duchess-Countess of Sutherland 1782; Studio or Circle of Romney.


Price

POA

Item Ref

8768

Description

Oil on canvas in a superb quality carved and giltwood 18th century frame.
The prime version of this portrait of Lady Sutherland aged 17, painted by Romney and absolutely identical, is in the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA.
ELIZABETH SUTHERLAND LEVESON-GOWER, Duchess of Sutherland (17651839) was also the 19th Countess of Sutherland in her own right.
Elizabeth was born at Leven Lodge near Edinburgh to William Gordon, 18th Earl of Sutherland and his wife Mary, daughter and coheir of William Maxwell. Her parents died of "putrid fever" in Bath in 1766, so as the only surviving child, she succeeded to her father's estates and titles in 1766, a few weeks after her first birthday, and although her title of Countess of Countess of Sutherland was contested by Sir Robert Gordon, Bart., a descendant of the 1st Earl of Gordon, it was confirmed by the House of Lords in 1771.
Elizabeth Sutherland spent most of her childhood living in Edinburgh and London where between 1779 and 1782 she was educated. At the age of 20, on 4 September 1785, she married George Granville Leveson-Gower, Viscount Trentham, who was known as Earl Gower from 1786 until in 1803 he succeeded to his father's title of Marquess of Stafford. In 1832 just six months before he died he was created Duke of Sutherland and she became known as Duchess-Countess of Sutherland.
Lady Sutherland was (and had been since before her marriage), interested in improving the yield that she could obtain from her estate through using modern estate management techniques. So she was the driving force behind the clearances that were to take place in Sutherland in the name of modernisation and efficiency. She started gradually but as the techniques proved to be financially beneficial for her family, she accelerated and intensified the process.
What Lady Sutherland instigated and her agents implemented was a large scale clearance of the land of small tenant farmers and crofters (who were moved to new settlements on the coast), to make way for large sheep farms and other projects.
The 'Highland Clearances' brought widespread condemnation and the Highland Land League eventually achieved land reform in the enactment of Crofting Acts, but these could not bring economic viability and came too late at a time when the land was already suffering from depopulation.
During the 1790 Lady Sutherland became a leading figure of the social season in London. Her dinner parties and balls were attended by royalty, nobility and leading politicians both foreign and domestic. She and her husband became close friends with George Canning who considered her beautiful, intelligent, and charming.
Lady Sutherland's interests included corresponding with Sir Walter Scott and, as she was a gifted artist, painting landscapes.
GEORGE ROMNEY (1734 1802) was an English portrait painter. He was the most fashionable artist of his day, painting many leading society figures.
Romney was born in Beckside in Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire (now part of Cumbria).
In 1757, in Kendal, he working as a portraitist, landscape and historical painter.
Moving to London in 1762 he struggled at first until 1769 when his work became recognised and he became a success with his work in demand.
SIZE:39 x 34 inches inc. frame.
EXHIBITED:The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Dorset. "The Art of 1740-1840" Exhibition.May-July 1943, as by Romney. Exhibit 920. Lent by A.L. Nicholson who also lent a Turner and a Gainsborough.
PROVENANCE:Private Collection, a Deceased Estate, New Forest, Hampshire.
Verso:chalk inscription "Mar 23.'56".
Old label : "1740-1840 EXHIBITION. RUSSELL-COTES ART GALLERY. Artist:George Romney. Date:1782. Title: Duchess-Countess of Sutherland. Owner's name:A.C. Nicholson. Owner's address:58 Christchurch Road."
Internal Ref: 8768



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