Born Elizabeth Dashwood, Montagu married George, 4th Duke of Manchester in October 1762, the same year he inherited the dukedom. They had six children, and Elizabeth was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds as Diana disarming Cupid, with her son George Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, who died aged 9 in 1772. The portrait, now at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire (National Trust), was Reynolds' first entry to the Royal Academy exhibition in 1769, and was widely reproduced in print.
Catherine, or Katherine, Read was born in Dundee into a wealthy Jacobite family and studied in Paris under Maurice-Quentin de La Tour (1704-1788) and in Rome with Louis-Gabriel Blanchet (1705-1772), before returning to London in 1754. She quickly established herself as a fashionable portrait painter in pastel and oil, especially of aristocratic women and their children, her fame leading Tobias Smollett to declare that 'Miss Reid [sic] excelled the celebrated Rosalba in portrait-painting, both in miniature and at large, in oil as well as in crayons' (History of England, 1791, V, p. 381). She gained a powerful patron in Queen Charlotte, whom she painted with the infant Prince of Wales in 1761. She exhibited at the Society of Artists and at the Royal Academy between 1760 and 1776.
We are grateful to Neil Jeffares for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.