The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Maria Gunning, later Countess of Coventry
  • Penelope Carwardine (1730 - 1801)
  • Maria Gunning, later Countess of Coventry
  • England
  • c. 1757
  • Miniature
  • Painted on ivory, garnets, emeralds and diamonds.
  • Image size: 4.4 x 3.6 cm
    Frame size: 6.1 x 4.5 cm
    Overall size: 6.6 x 4.5 cm, with hook
  • Signature: 'P C'
    Inscription: 'MARIA COUNTESS OF COVENTRY 1747'
  • M93
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Maria Gunning was the eldest daughter of John Gunning of Castle Coote, Co. Roscommon. When she arrived in London from Ireland in 1751, she was described as ‘the handsomest woman alive.’ In 1752 she married George William, sixth Earl of Coventry. Lady Caroline Fox praised her for dressing ‘vastly the best of the very fine ladies generally, now and then a queer conceit but not often.’ In this portrait, the sitter is depicted wearing a blue dress trimmed with blue bows, a blue ribbon around her neck, and powdered hair with a feather set in a blue ornament. Sir Joshua Reynolds painted her portrait in 1758-9.
    The portrait is signed on the right ‘P C’, the monogram of the miniaturist Penelope Carwardine (c. 1730-1801). The contemporary frame is edged with rubies and surmounted by an Earl’s coronet.