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Maria Countess of Coventry by Finlayson after Read

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Maria (née Gunning), Countess of Coventry by John Finlayson after Katherine Read. 

A fine mezzotint engraved by John Finlayson and published by him in 1771, after the original portrait by Katherine Read. 

The artist was from Scottish aristocracy. She studied crayon painting under La Tour in Paris from 1745 before leaving for Rome in 1751. There she established a clientele drawn from the Italian aristocracy and the transient rich Brits on their Grand Tours. After two years she returned to England and established herself as one if the most fashionable portrait painters in crayon; a reputation she maintained for over twenty years. In 1777 she journeyed from India for the Cape but died on route and was buried at sea.

Maria met with an early death in her 27th year. In maintaining her reputation as a society beauty with a white skin and rouge-red cheeks ample use of the lead-based Venetian ceruse was called for. The corrosive effects of the lead caused eruptions of the skin which in turn required ever more use of the Venetian ceruse, eventually causing poisoning from the lead. 

18 inches x 23.75 inches 

Framed within a copy of an 18th century print frame with a sanded and gilded slip.

 

Item Code: 4959

£ 795

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