The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Lady Elizabeth Seymour-Conway
  • Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1792)
  • Lady Elizabeth Seymour-Conway
  • England
  • 1781
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Size: 61.5 x 47.2 x 2 cm, unframed
    Frame size: 86 x 71 cm
  • P31
  • Reserve Gallery
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Portraits of the sisters Lady Elizabeth Seymour-Conway (1754-1825) and Frances, Countess of Lincoln (1751-1820) were commissioned by their father, Francis Seymour-Conway, Earl of Hertford (created 1st Marquess of Hertford in 1793) in 1781. Both paintings are now in the Wallace Collection (see P33). Reynolds had previously painted a number of portraits of the Earl’s children, including three portraits of his sons in the 1760s and one of his eldest daughter, Anne, in 1775.

    The portraits of Elizabeth and Frances were conceived as a pair. Pendant portraits of siblings, particularly sisters, were unusual in the eighteenth century. Reynolds appears to have changed details of the portrait to keep up with contemporary fashion. An X-ray image has revealed that the artist adjusted Elizabeth’s hairstyle shortly before the painting left the studio, adding more texture and lowering the curls around the neck. Reynolds painted many fashionable sitters during this period wearing the same voluminous and powdered style.