ELIZABETH DUTCHESS OF HAMILTON & BRANDON AND DUTCHESS OF ARGYL - J. FINLAYSON AFTER CATHERINE READ.

 

18th century mezzotint portrait of  Elizabeth Duchess of Hamilton & Brandon and Duchess of Argyl. Published by John Finlayson after the painting by Catherine Read on November 10th 1770. Framed and glazed. 

Elizabeth Gunning (1733-1790) was born in Huntingdonshire in 1733 but moved with her family to Ireland in 1740 at the age of seven. When she and her sister came of age their mother, concerned about the family's relative poverty, encouraged the girls to seek work upon the stage in Dublin. This was not a particularly respectable endeavour and many similar girls ended up as courtesans to wealthy benefactors or, even more distressing, prostitutes frequenting the stage door.

Luckily Elizabeth had the good fortune to visit London in 1752 where she attended a party at Bedford House thrown by the Duke of Hamilton. The Duke fell for her instantly and vowed to marry her that very night. A priest was summoned but refused to conduct the marriage as the bans had not been read and there was neither a licence or a ring. The Duke was so impassioned that they left the party and were married at The Mayfair Chapel in a clandestine ceremony later that evening.

Elizabeth's rise continued rapidly and she became an accomplished society hostess. From 1761-1784 she served as a Lady to the Bedchamber of Queen Charlotte. In 1759, a year after Hamilton's death, she married John Campbell who later became the Duke of Argyll and bestowed the title of Duchess upon his wife. Even the king fell for her charms and created her Duchess of Hamilton. This print lists her many titles!

Mezzotint
18.5 in X 25 in
23.5cm X 30.8cm
Executed 1770

Price: £840

Higher resolution images on request.  
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