John Russell, R.A. (1745-1806)
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John Russell, R.A. (1745-1806)

Portrait of a girl, half-length in a white dress and white fichu, wearing a voile and organza cap trimmed with ribbon, reading a book

Details
John Russell, R.A. (1745-1806)
Portrait of a girl, half-length in a white dress and white fichu, wearing a voile and organza cap trimmed with ribbon, reading a book
signed and dated 'J Russell pt/1784' (centre left)
pastel
23 5/8 x 17¾ in. (60 x 45.2 cm.)
in an 18th century carved and gilded frame in the style of Kent
Provenance
Purchased by the Bakers of Bayfordbury, Hertfordshire and by descent in the family.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

Images in the Heinz Archive, National Portrait Gallery, suggest that that the sitter in this portrait is Lady Bellamont. Russell executed pastels of both Lord Bellamont of Bellamont Forest, Cavan, Ireland (1738-1800) and Lady Bellamont, with her child, in 1784 , the same year as our work (see G.C. Williamson, John Russell, R.A., 1893, p. 140). Lady Bellamont is depicted in an identical costume as in the present work, looking straight ahead.

Lord Bellamont was Deputy Quartermaster General of the Forces in Ireland and Privy Councillor, Ireland from 1766-1773. He was created Earl of Bellamont in 1767. A notorious womaniser he eventually married Emily Fitzgerald, daughter of James, 1st Duke of Leinster on 20 August 1774. There were four legitimate daughters and one son Charles, who died aged 8 in 1786. A full-length portrait of the Earl of Bellamont by Reynolds is in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and the companion of the Countess is in the Wernher Foundation, Luton Hoo.

The Bakers of Bayfordbury owned an important collection of paintings including a number of Kneller's famous Kit-cat Club portraits.
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