The sitter was the only daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, 5th Bt. (d. 1793), of Halnaby Hall, Yorkshire, and Elizabeth (d. 1767), daughter and co-heir of John Hedworth, M.P. of Chester-le-Street, Durham. In 1769 she married Sir Peniston Lamb, 2nd Bt., and later 1st Viscount Melbourne (1748-1828). Within a year of their marriage George Stubbs painted his portrait of The Milbanke and Melbourne Families depicting a young and newly married Elizabeth, her father, Sir Ralph Milbanke, her brother John Milbanke and her husband Sir Peniston Lamb. The Lambs lived at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire and Melbourne House, Piccadilly, now the Albany. They had four sons, Peniston (see lot 43), William, later 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the future Prime Minister, Frederick-James, later 3rd Viscount Melbourne, and George, and one daughter, Emily-Mary, later Countess Cowper and Viscountess Palmerston (see lot 41). Lady Melbourne was considered a remarkable woman and the rise of the family was largely due to her brilliance. On her death in 1818, Byron referred to her as 'the best, and kindest and ablest female I have ever known, young or old ... uniting the energy of a man's mind with the delicacy and tenderness of a woman's ... ', and some of the poet's most spirited surviving letters were addressed to her. Sir Joshua Reynolds painted three portraits of her, one with the young Peniston as a child, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1773.