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Portrait of Pamela, later Lady Edward Fitzgerald (?1773-1831), bust-length

Portrait of Pamela, later Lady Edward Fitzgerald (?1773-1831), bust-length
oil on canvas
17 5/8 x 15 ¼ in. (44.7 x 38.3 cm.)
(Possibly) given to William Hayley (1745-1820), Felpham, Sussex; his sale (†), Christie's, London, 15 February 1821, lot 113 (part lot), 'Two sketches heads of females' (7 gns. to Figou).
with Newhouse Galleries, New York.
F. Howard Walsh (1913-1998) and Mary D. Fleming Walsh (1913-2005), Fort Worth, Texas,
Walsh Family Art Trust; Heritage Auctions, Texas, 10 November 2006, lot 25013, as 'Portrait of Lady Hamilton'.
with Philip Mould, as 'Study of a Muse (Emma Hamilton)', from whom acquired by the present owners.
W. Hayley, The Life of George Romney Esq., Chichester, 1809, p. 169.
J. Johnson, ed., Memoirs of the Life and Writings of William Hayley... [and] Memoirs of his son Thomas Alphonso Hayley, London, 1823, II, p. 187-8 and 194.
J. Romney, Memoirs of the Life and Works of George Romney… also, some particulars of the life of Peter Romney, his brother, London, 1830, p. 223.
H. Gamlin, George Romney and his Art, London, 1894, pp. 235-6.
Sir H. Maxwell, George Romney, London, 1902, p. 124.
G. Paston, George Romney, London, 1903, pp. 130-1, 197.
Lord R. Sutherland Gower, George Romney, London, 1904, pp. 78, 85.
T. Humphrey Ward and W. Roberts, Romney: a biographical and critical essay, with a catalogue raisonné of his works, London, 1904, II, p. 117.
A. B. Chamberlain, George Romney, London, 1910, p. 172.
D. A. Cross, A Striking Likeness: The Life of George Romney, Aldershot, 2000, p. 169.
A. Kidson, George Romney: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, New Haven and London, 2015, II, p. 447, no. 988, illustrated.

Brought to you by

Lucy Speelman
Lucy Speelman Junior Specialist, Head of Part II

Lot Essay

Pamela Fitzgerald was rumoured to have been the illegitimate daughter of Louis-Philippe Joseph, duc d'Orléans (1747-1793), cousin of Louis XVI of France, and his mistress, Caroline Stéphanie Félicité Brulart, comtesse de Genlis (née Du Crest; 1746-1830), governess to his children. Debate over her birth has endured for several centuries; Madame de Genlis claimed that she was the daughter of a woman named Mary Sims (1773–1780), that her father was named either Seymour or William Brixey, and that she had been born in 1773 on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. In 1780, Pamela was brought into the Orléans household at Bellechasse as a companion to his children, and it was reportedly at this time that Mme de Genlis gave her the name Anne Caroline Stéphanie, as well as the pet name Pamela in honour of Samuel Richardson's heroine.

On her travels to London with Mme de Genlis, Pamela found a slew of admirers, including Richard Brinsley Sheridan, to whom she was rumoured to have been briefly engaged. Before long however, Pamela married radical Irish aristocrat Lord Edward Fitzgerald (1763-1798), MP for Kildare, following a three-week affair in the winter of 1792. They then settled in Kildare, where their house rapidly became a centre of radical organization, frequented by Edward's closest confidants. His political dissidence culminated in his arrest as a United Irish Leader in 1798, and he died just weeks later of wounds sustained during his imprisonment.

Pamela found herself exiled from Ireland and Britain, and following another tumultuous, short-lived marriage in Hamburg, she returned to France, where she eventually fell into financial ruin; though in receipt of a pension from the Orléans family, Pamela apparently died penniless. She was buried at Montmartre, and later reinterred at Thames Ditton, Surrey.

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