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Painting Title A Lady in a Blue Dress, possibly Anne Lennox, Duchess of Richmond (1671-1722
Alternative Title Unknown Lady in a Blue Dress
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Manner ofDahl, Michael (Swedish painter, born 1656 or 1659, died 1743, active in England)
Date Earliest possibly about 1693
Date Latest possibly about 1697

A half-length figure, looking slightly left, in loose robes, blue dress and red scarf. The painting is in bad condition and very dark. YORAG: 601 is a pair with no 600 depicting a man with the Order of a Garter; the sitters seem to be possible to identify as Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond (1672–1723) and his wife, Anne née Brudenell (1671-1722). The identification of the Lady seems to be confirmed when juxtaposed with the terracotta bust by G. B. Guelfi (1730-34, The Victoria and Albert Museum), related to the marble bust on the tomb of Anne Duchess of Richmond in Deene church, Northamptonshire. Most likely the York portrairs were painted between the couple's wedding in 1693 and 1697 when they moved to Goodwood estate. Both portraits were said to have come from the 2nd Duke of Buckingham's house in York.

The portraits may be described as in style of Michael Dahl. Dahl was the leading portrait painter in England after Sir Godfrey Kneller, in whose studio he briefly worked, although it is often considered now that Dahl was an artist of greater refinement than Kneller. Dahl's style became popular in English portraiture around 1700. YORAG : 601 may be compared in composition to Dahl's portraits, for example of Rachel Russell, Duchess of Devonshire (one in National Trust Collection in Petworth House, the other in Chatsworth House, both dated to late 1690s), or of Lady Mary Somerset, Duchess of Ormond (private collection, c. 1695). In particular YORAG: 601 seems to follow the composition of Dahl's portrait of Elizabeth Countess of Sandwich (c.1674-1757) in Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. It also follows Dahl's style in depicting the draperies, with angular and dynamic folds, as well as in creating facial features. It is very probable that both portraits are copies or replicas, as their artistic quality is not very high, and the sitters obviously belong to the elite, who were usually were portrayed by the best artists. Nevertheless, at this point the painting's condition does not allow to come to a final conclusion about its attribution.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 601
Subject potrait (possibly Anne Lennox, Duchess of Richmond)
Measurements 121.3 x 97.9 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Dr. Petch, 1919.
Publications listed as 'Unknown lady in a blue dress' by unknown artist: York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings vol. III: English and European 19th and 20th centuries, The Reserve Collection, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1974, p. 115; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London 2006, p. 342.
Notes According to the tradition, YORAG : 600 and 601 were supposed to come from Buckingham House, originally Fairfax House, in the Bishophill area of York. It belonged to George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628-1687), who died without issue. His wife, Mary Fairfax, died in 1704. By the 1730s the house was already ruined, in possession of Thomas Fairfax of Newton, and later was demolished.
Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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