Charles Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington (1782-1829), was the second son of Luke, 1st Viscount Mountjoy (for whose portrait see lot 44 in the Evening sale on 7 December 2010). He succeeded as 2nd Viscount in 1795 and was created Earl of Blessington in 1816. In 1818, he married Margaret Farmer (neé Power), who was to became a celebrated writer best known for her Journal of Conversations with Lord Byron. They married only four months after the death of her first husband Maurice St. Leger Farmer, from whom she had long been estranged. She had for some years had a close relationship with Captain Thomas Jenkins, an officer in the 11th Light Dragoons with whom she was living in Hampshire when they first met. Blessington, who had a large income from his Irish estates, and was a widower with four children, lavished money on his wife and they lived at 11 St. James' Square, where they entertained in great style. The Countess of Blessington also sat to Lawrence, in circa 1821, and his remarkable portrait of her, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1822, is in the Wallace Collection (Garlick, op. cit., no. 112). This portrait is presumably that recorded by Lawrence's executor as '4/5 finished begun 1815 or 16. w.l. price 300 gns. (Garlick, op. cit.).