Jane Maxwell, Duchess of Gordon, c 1749 - 1812. Wife of the 4th Duke of Gordon (With her son, George Duncan, 1770 - 1836. Marquess of Huntly,... (1778)
About this artwork
The Duchess of Gordon was witty, clever and ambitious. She married one of the richest men in Europe and helped run his vast family estates. She had seven children and became the leader of fashionable society in London and Edinburgh. In Romney's impressive double portrait, the Duchess is shown with her elder son, George, Marquess of Huntly who became Duke of Gordon in 1827. When George was recruiting a regiment for the army, his mother is said to have helped him by offering the king's shilling from between her own lips.
- title: Jane Maxwell, Duchess of Gordon, c 1749 - 1812. Wife of the 4th Duke of Gordon (With her son, George Duncan, 1770 - 1836. Marquess of Huntly, later 5th Duke of Gordon. General)
- accession number: PG 2208
- artist: George RomneyEnglish (1734 - 1802)
- depicted: Jane Maxwell
- gallery: On Loan
- object type: Painting
- subject: Families Rich and poor Aristocracy
- materials: Oil on canvas
- date created: 1778
- measurements: 126.40 x 102.50 cm (framed: 149.00 x 124.00 x 10.00 cm)
- credit line: Purchased 1972 with help from the Pilgrim Trust
Romney was born in Dalton-on-Furness, the son of a cabinet-maker. He was apprenticed for two years to a travelling portrait painter, Christopher Steele. After working independently in Kendal and Lancaster, Romney moved to London in 1762, hoping to become a history painter. This was unrealistic and by the early 1770s he was established as one of the capital's leading portraitists. At 38 he spent two years in Italy which refired his ambition to be a history painter. On returning to London, he was the main rival to Reynolds and Gainsborough and more fashionable than either. He painted many portraits of Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, who represented his feminine ideal.