The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Miss Elizabeth Haverfield
  • Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788)
  • Miss Elizabeth Haverfield
  • England
  • early 1780s
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 126.2 x 101 cm
    Object size: 150.5 x 125 x 11 cm
  • P44
  • West Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Miss Elizabeth Anne Haverfield (1776-1817) was the daughter of John Haverfield (1744-1820), who was a Superintendent Gardener at Richmond Gardens (now Kew) and lived at Haverfield House on Kew Green. It is thought that this portrait was commissioned in the early 1780s, as the sitter would appear to be aged around eight or nine years old. It is a fine example of Gainsborough’s late work. The sitter is shown in a pose of spontaneity, in which she appears to have been caught playing with the ribbons of her coat. The fluid, loosely painted landscape background further animates the sitter.

    The portrait remained in the possession of the sitter’s family at Haverfield House until it was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1859. Taking account of the 4th Marquess’s tastes and collecting habits, one can assume that the painting would have appealed to him as a charming, eighteenth-century portrayal of childhood.