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George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford (1730-1791), in blue coat with gold buttons, red embroidered waistcoat, white lace cravat, powdered curling hair
on ivory
oval 2½ in. (64 mm.) high, reeded wooden frame
A paper label on the reverse in Horace Walpole's handwriting reads, 'George Walpole / third Earl of Orford / by Liotard. 1751'
Horace Walpole (1717-1797) Collection, Strawberry Hill; George Robins Auctioneers, 10 May 1842, 14th Day's Sale, lot 48 (3 gns. to Luxmore).
The Hon. Mrs Fred Walpole, née Laura Sophia Frances Walpole (d. 1901), in 1865.
With Entwistle & Co. Ltd., London.
Sotheby's, Geneva, 16 May 1991, lot 17.
With D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd., in 1992.
M. Roethlisberger and R. Loche, Liotard, Doornspijk, 2008, I, p. 439, no. 261, illustrated in colour, II, fig. 386.
London, South Kensington Museum, Special Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures, 1865, no. 600 (lent by The Hon. Mrs Fred Walpole).
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

Lot Essay

George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford (1730-1791) was the only child of Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (1701-1751) and his wife Margaret Rolle (1709-1781). The 3rd Earl served as Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk from 1757 and was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber to George II and George III. A celebrated falconer and courser, the 3rd Earl is better known for selling his family's magnificent art collection to Catherine the Great in 1778, forming the basis of the collection at The Hermitage - an act viewed as a national calamity by the British Museum, who had bid for the collection. He died, insane, without legitimate issue.
Originally in the collection of Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, the present work was situated in 'The Tribune', or Chapel, which contained most of Walpole's smaller art treasures. Oil paintings and watercolours were hung on the walls and miniatures were displayed inside a Padouk veneered cabinet, commissioned by Horace Walpole on his return from his Grand Tour, and now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum (inv. no. W.52:1, 2-1925). John Carter's watercolour of the open cabinet (illustrated opposite), published in A Description of the Villa of Horace Walpole, 1784, reveals a number of miniatures and enamels, including the present lot.

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