After Thomas Gainsborough, Mrs Mary Robinson

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A fine early 19th-century portrait of Mrs Mary Robinson (1758-1800), after the original work by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788).

Mrs Robinson briefly became the mistress of George the Prince Regent after playing Perdita in The Winter's Tale. Apparently, he was so struck by her charms that he unabashedly sent her a miniature, with a paper heart inside, declaring his eternal love.

However, it appears that his ‘eternal love’ was actually quite fleeting as, by the time he commissioned Gainsborough to paint this piece, he had already moved on to someone else. With this in mind, it seems particularly poignant that Mrs Robinson is sat next to her loyal dog, which is perhaps a little more trustworthy than the Prince.

This charming copy is clearly by an accomplished hand and captures the essence of the original very nicely. It’s gained a dark surface after many years in dusty rooms but this only seems to enhance its overall look.

Medium
Oil on canvas
Size
9¼” x 11¾” / 23.5cm x 30cm
Year of creation
c. 1815
Provenance
Private collection, England
Condition
Craquelure throughout but the paint layer is stable under varnish. Abrasions around the periphery due to its previous frame. One area that’s bituminised in the top right. Darkened due to age.