About this artwork

This portrait of Caroline D'Arcy was previously attributed to Allan Ramsay. They are now believed to have been painted by Adolph around 1750 when they were living at Blickling, Norfolk. Adolph had settled in Norfolk around this time. This life-size portrait shows Caroline in an elaborate red satin dress, standing against an autumnal landscape with the sun setting behind distant hills. The flat foreground acts like a stage on which she is presented as ‘performer’, delicately playing her guitar and demonstrating her musical accomplishment. Her alliance with music and harmony was perhaps intended to balance the military associations of their family, a consequence of her husband’s distinguished Army career.

Joseph Anton Adolf

Joseph Anton Adolf

Adolph was born in Nikolsburg, Austria, and studied at the Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Vienna. He visited Paris in 1745, and by 1750 he was working in London, where he had a successful career painting life-size portraits of distinguished aristocratic families. Adolph’s technique and style developed during his period in Britain. His later portraits are less stiff, and display a more accomplished understanding of elegant gesture. Adolph’s most famous portrait was of the Prince of Wales on Horseback (the future King George III). In 1755, it was engraved and published by Bernard Baron. By 1769, Adolph had returned to Austria, where he continued to enjoy the patronage of the wealthy and the eminent, including the Archbishops of Ölmuz at Kremsier.