London, South Kensington
4 June 2014
George Romney (Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire 1734 - Kendal, Cumbria 1802)
Portrait of Mrs Moody (c.1767-1820), second wife of Samuel Moody, three-quarter-length, in a white dress trimmed with pink bows and a pink sash, holding a dog in her lap, in a landscape
oil on canvas
50¼ x 40¼ in. (127.5 x 102.2 cm.)
in a contemporary carved giltwood frame
commissioned by the sitter's husband Samuel Moody (1733-1808).
J.L. Rutley; Christie's, London, 3 July 1875, lot 71 (180 gns. to Graves).
W.S. Stirling Crawfurd (d. 1874) and by inheritance to his wife,
Caroline, Duchess of Montrose (1818-1894); Christie's, London, 14 July 1894, lot 37 (400 gns. to the following),
Mrs. John Gardner.
George R. Balch.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 17 November 1976, lot 122.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 22 November 1985, lot 130 (£32,000).
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H. Ward and W. Roberts, Romney, A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1904, vol. II, p. 108.
London, Burlington House, Old Masters Exhibition, 1882, no. 38.
London, Grafton Gallery, Fair Women, 1894, no. 195a.
This arresting portrait of Mary Moody was painted in 1786, a key year in Romney’s oeuvre that saw his muse, Emma Hamilton, move to Naples, five years after her first appearance in his studio, and the inception of the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, which presented the artist with the opportunity to exhibit imaginative paintings outside the Royal Academy. The portrait is characteristic of the period with its remarkably fluid brushwork, notably in the handling of the pink bow that runs down the sitter's white dress. The bravura execution is allied with passages of masterfully subtle observation, a quality that is most delightfully realised in the rendering of the dog on the sitter’s lap.
Mary Paterson was married on 23 February 1786 to Samuel Moody. Moody’s first wife Elizabeth Johnson (1756-82) was painted with their sons, Samuel and Thomas, by Gainsborough (1779-1785; London, Dulwich Picture Gallery).
An early owner of the picture was the celebrated horseracing figure and dandy, William Stuart Stirling Crawfurd. In 1876 Crawfurd married Caroline Agnes Graham, the flamboyant widow of the 4th Duke of Montrose, who notoriously rode under the pseudonym of Mr Manton, as racing was not then considered a suitable pastime for a lady. The sale of the Duchess's pictures at Christie's in 1894 included two other works by Romney; Lady Hamilton as The Magdalen (lot 88) and Lady Hamilton as Ariadne (lot 89).
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
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