Cavaliere Alessandro Capalti

Portrait Of Lady Jane Loftus, Marchioness Of Ely

Cavaliere Alessandro Capalti

Portrait Of Lady Jane Loftus, Marchioness Of Ely

This mid-19th-century portrait by Italian artist Cavaliere Alessandro Capalti (1810-1868) depicts Lady Jane Loftus née Hope-Vere (1821-1890), Marchioness of Ely.

Jane was a treasured confidante of Queen Victoria’s and worked as a lady of the Queen's bedchamber. It’s a portrait of national significance.

Portraits with such gravitas rarely surface and it’s been an honour to research this extraordinary piece. Only a few portraits of Jane exist and the others are held in public collections. In 1856, two were produced and both are in the Royal Collection. The first by Charles-Lucien-Louis Muller (1815-1892), an oil on canvas, and the second, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73), which was commissioned by Queen Victoria herself.

Our version is the largest on record and previously hung at the splendid Redlynch House in Salisbury, Wiltshire. We’ve discovered a photograph of it in situ. It was acquired from an auction of various works.

The artist, Cavaliere Alessandro Capalti, was highly regarded in Italy and predominantly known for his frescoes and religious works. In the early part of his career, comparisons were made with Raphael (1483-1520) and the glowing sheen of classicism is certainly evident in this piece. Jane is depicted with abundant purity - akin to the Madonna and child. A year after completing this painting, Capalti produced a portrait of Pope Pius IX, which was donated to the Museum of Rome.

Capalti’s portrait of Jane presents a demure young lady, a year after marriage. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll notice a certain glint that hints at her fiery character. She was known to be outspoken and surprisingly disobedient when in the Queen’s company, which only increased Victoria’s fondness of her. For further reading, please refer to our blog article ‘Jane Loftus - The Queen’s Confidante’.

The portrait is signed, dated and housed within a gilt frame.

Due to its size, it’s only available for UK delivery.

Learn more about Cavaliere Alessandro Capalti in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 47½” x 57” / 121cm x 145cm
Year of creation: 1845
Condition: Craquelure but the paint is broadly stable. Canvas slightly undulant. Old varnish uneven in areas. Old patched repair. Frame with some light wear.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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